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VOL. I. 








VOL. I. 






VOL. I. 


It may be deemed, if not the duty, yet 
often the interest, of an editor or a biogra- 
pher to keep himself out of sight ; but it is 
so obvious, that I may seem chargeable with 
an affectation of delicacy and scrupulosity if 
I pretend to only a silent concern in this edi- 
tion, that it can scarcely be expected I should 
not avail myself of a few words to explain 
the design with which it is sent out of my 

In the space of nearly twenty years, it 
may be presumed all has been stated, that 
has any chance of coming before the public 
from any other source, respecting the Life 
and Writings of Dr. Paley, and that his 

works have undergone all the criticism of 

u 2 


his contemporaries, as well as change of 
form and arrangement, that may have been 
thought requisite. Yet there is (necessarily 
perhaps from the way in which many of these 
editions have been compiled) enough of 
irrelevancy in the matter, and defect in the 
arrangement of these works, to dissatisfy any 
one who takes an interest in the name and 
memory of the author. How far indeed a 
son may suppose that his father cannot be 
recognised in what has already been made 
public in so many shapes, merely because 
he finds it at variance with his own feelings, 
will not be left to my decision ; but if it be 
not a sort of filial presumption to feel a pride, 
as well as a property in a father's name, I 
would fain think myself called upon to set 
his name and memory right with the public, 
or at least give a correct, and if possible, 
an improved edition of his works. As they 
at present stand, they are but poorly trimmed 
for posterity. 

My duty indeed as a biographer and editor 


will be more pleasantly discharged, if I dis- 
claim any great pretension to either of these 
titles, and only acknowledge that I am 
greatly indebted to the advice of those, with- 
out whose suggestion I might not have at- 
tempted, and without whose assistance I 
could scarcely have ventured, to bring for- 
ward this present edition. 

As to the sketch of the life prefixed to this 
edition, except a few home-touches of cha- 
racter, it may more properly deserve the 
name of a critique, or correction of what has 
already been before the public under many 
names. The lives which have already ap- 
peared are, 1. An article in the Public Cha- 
racters, for 1802. 2. Biographical Dic- 
tionary, by Aikin, 1808. 3. Meadley, first 
edition, 1809 ; second edition enlarged, 1810. 
4). Biographical Dictionary, by Chalmers, 
1814. 5. An edition of Paley's Works, with 
a Life by Chalmers. 6. A small 18mo edi- 
tion, with a short sketch of the author's Life. 
7. The Works of W. Paley, D.D., with an 


extract from his correspondence, and a Life 
of the author, by the Kev. Kobert Lynam, 
A.M. Assistant Chaplain to the Magdalen 
Hospital, 1823. This edition, it may be ob- 
served, is accompanied by the following ad- 
vertisement : " All possible care has been 
taken to render this edition superior in every 
respect to preceding editions." It is only 
necessary for me to say, that hitherto none of 
Dr. Paley's family have had any connexion 
with any of the foregoing Lives or Works ; 
nor have they, except in one instance, 
thought it their concern to interfere in any 
way with those booksellers who have had the 
right of managing them. Besides these, there 
have been many occasional notices scattered 
through different periodical publications, 
some of which may have originated with his 
friends. To the Memoirs of Dr. Paley, by 
G. Wilson Meadley, I am induced to give a 
decided preference, both on account of their 
general accuracy, and the diligent research 
made by that writer in collecting materials 


for a " Life" with which he was almost en- 
tirely unacquainted. I can scarcely indeed 
claim attention to any thing of my own, ex- 
cept it be to the correcting of some, and 
confirming, or at most adding to, other 
parts of what he has written. To a late 
edition of Paley's works there is a life pre- 
fixed by Alexander Chalmers, probably 
enlarged from one in a Biographical Dic- 
tionary by the same author in 1814; but 
both evidently, though not avowedly, gleaned 
from Meadley's Memoirs. I must, however, 
acknowledge, that I have gleaned, as from 
many other quarters, so from this ; but 
only so far as I could draw myself away 
from a little acrimony, which, however it 
may suit his purpose, will interest his readers 
less, sirice it is particularly directed to that 
very writer from whom he has borrowed so 
largely. However, from Meadley's Dedi- 
cation " to the friends of civil and religious 
liberty," and also from " that reserve of high 
rank in one, or breaking down of another," 


which has been hinted at in the Quarterly 
Review of Meadley's Memoirs, I would with- 
draw with the same kind of feeling that would 
lead me to keep out of a scrape : as I cannot 
be ignorant of what is meant by such insi- 
nuations, so I am desirous of considering 
them groundless and idle. My object will 
be found to be of a higher kind. What is 
presented new may not be more free from 
irrelevancies, for into such the subject is not 
unlikely to run under my hand. It is derived 
from family recollections and the domestic 
life of an affectionate father; and though 
it may be no other than the private history 
of any family may afford, it forms, at least 
to his friends, not only the most gratifying, 
but the most interesting part of his character. 
As far as I have been able, from some hints 
discovered in his own hand writing, I have 
preferred that he should speak for himself. 
I feel conscious, however, that little of this 
sort worthy of distinction is within my reach ; 
because from the period of life at which most 


of his family were left at his death, and from 
his own habits in private, which were formed 
rather to contemplation than communication, 
but least of all to any display of himself — 
none knew less of the general incidents of 
his public life than his own family. It may, 
therefore, be worth while to pay a particular 
attention to his mind, so far, that is, as it 
may consist with a biographical sketch. At 
the same time that no man's life less abounded 
in important incident, or rather in public 
interest, no man's mind seems better worth 
following from the rise to the maturity of 
many of his opinions and principles. This 
also may account for so much of his private 
life and habits being brought forward in the 
following pages ; as exclusive of the consi- 
deration that every man has his own concern 
in the public as well as private events of his 
life, so far as these may make an impression 
on his character — it seemed almost the bent 
of his inclination to try his most private and 


insignificant actions by the test of his public 

As to that part of his works now first 
edited, it is brought forward rather as a sub- 
stitute for some matter which was in no sense 
original, than as making any fresh claim 
upon public attention, or perhaps materially 
affecting the credit of the author. As it has 
been no part of my design, so it may almost 
be conceived that it is no part of my desire, 
to indulge either less or more than that de- 
gree of jealousy which will be easily allowed 
to such an undertaking. While I avow my- 
self suspicious of what may have been ad- 
vanced by others under the name of Paley's 
Works, it is but fair that I should be fearful 
of detracting from the merit of the author 
by the insertion of any new matter unworthy 
of him. 

If any thing more be necessary from the 
editor to the reader, it may be some little 
explanation with respect to the Sermons, 


both those that have been before published, 
and those that have been hitherto unpub- 
lished. As to the first, on the one side, in a 
codicil to the author's will there is an ex- 
press injunction, " that the said Sermons 
shall not be printed for sale/' On the other 
side, there was an assurance that they cer- 
tainly would be, and even were, so printed 
for publication surreptitiously. Dr. Paley's 
executors had to steer betwixt the difficulty 
of doing injustice to his memory by sub- 
mitting to the sale of such a publication, 
and that of bringing upon themselves a 
charge of having sacrificed his injunction to 
pecuniary considerations. What ought to 
have been done, it is now in vain to speak of. 
For what was done, the reasons are these. It 
was obvious, that the injunction might be 
fairly construed rather as precluding those 
who might be interested, from any spoliation 
upon his name, should this volume fall into 
improper hands, or rather perhaps as en- 
hancing the gift, than from a fear that any 


thing unworthy of his name should appear. 
This latter supposition, indeed, as it would 
at once lessen the value of the gift, so it will 
be more than contradicted by the fact, that 
many of the Sermons so left for publication 
were more early and more incomplete, and 
more unconnected productions of his pen, 
than many which were still in manuscript, 
and that he was not in the habit of revising 
what he had written of this sort with any 
suspicion of mere verbal inaccuracies, or the 
construction of his sentences. The money 
arising from the sale, therefore, by being 
disposed of in some public charity, was con- 
sidered as placed out of the reach of any 
private advantage ; and after making some 
small deduction towards building one na- 
tional school house at Bishop Wearmouth, 
and another at Giggleswick, a place inti- 
mately connected with the author, the re- 
mainder was paid into the fund of the general 
Society for the Sons of the Clergy. So much 
for the publishing of these " said Sermons," 


which were only a small part of those left for 
publication, and a still smaller part of the 
whole collection, to which no such injunction 
applies. From these last, most of those now 
first published have been selected ; and if 
one or two of the former have been added, it 
has been for the sake of preserving a con- 
nexion with the former publication, evi- 
dently intended by the author himself, or of 
giving some strong and peculiar charac- 
teristic of his mind and sentiments. 

As to the Sermons now brought forward, 
it may be acknowledged that much will be 
found in some of them, which will be recog- 
nized by any reader of only slight informa- 
tion ; but it may be said also, that it seems 
worth while to see not only how 7 old topics 
may be made interesting under a new dress, 
but how this author's manner of reading and 
reasoning led him to draw out the pith of 
even the closest writer. It may be well also 
to observe how he treats of even the most 
ordinary subject, and how much he dis- 


dained on more serious subjects to seek only 
those, on which he might indulge his natural 
fondness for originality. 

With regard to the general arrangement of 
the volumes, it is yet incomplete, the second 
volume having been demanded and printed 
as the second, before the arrangement of this 
edition was thought of. As being the order 
which seems to have been contemplated by 
the author, and as being the obvious arrange- 
ment of his subject, the Natural Theology 
ought to have stood first — the Evidences 
next, to which, as being connected both in 
matter and time of publication, the Hone 
Paulinae and the minor Tracts might have 
succeeded. The Moral Philosophy and the 
Sermons obviously come last, as the result of 
the whole. This, however, concerns more 
the printer and publisher of the works than 
myself; and should a future edition be called 
for, it may be worth attending to. 



As it is one design of these memoirs to seek occa- 
sions where the subject of them may speak for him- 
self, so it may be worth while to begin, where such 
biographical sketches usually do begin, with some 
short account of the family from which Dr. Paley 
used to boast his origin. No man was more ready 
on all occasions to value real merit of any kind, or 
in any condition ; and though he never treated the 
pride of ancestry with contempt, he neither had, nor 
thought he could have, any pretensions to be jealous 
of his rank in society. It will be found in the fol- 
lowing pages a striking part of his character, that he 
not only was perfectly clear from any uneasiness in 
this respect, or any consciousness of his own import- 
ance, that he never therefore was forward to assume 
importance beyond the most private character ; but 
that he never refused to allow it to others who de- 
served it, whatever might be their station, nor ever 
indulged in any but the most cheerful satisfied view 
of all conditions. He praised what was good in 
every thing, he passed over good-hum ouredly what 


was weak, he was ever on the watch for the best and 
most cheering prospects, and equally ready to point 
out to others the advantages and peculiar felicities of 
their situation. It was with such views as this that 
he always expressed himself fully satisfied with his 
own lot, and showed himself satisfied by the great 
pleasure he took in reflecting upon his rise in life. 
It is gratifying to his family and intimate friends, to 
recollect the amusement he both felt and afforded in 
giving what are called family anecdotes ; and it is 
no less useful, as showing Jiow far such a character 
may be modified, if not moulded, by the accidental 
circumstances of time, place, and early habits. He 
used to speak much of one of his great-uncles, who 
kept a hardware stall, on market days, at Settle, in 
Craven ; from the vicinity of which place his family 
sprung, and who on being directed by a witty neigh- 
bour to make a common sewing needle, in value less 
than one farthing, not only did so with great dili- 
gence and simplicity, but gravely charged half-a- 
£rown for a very bungling piece of workmanship. 
Another kinsman of his, who kept a little grocer's 
shop in the same town, and whom he took great de- 
light in assisting to make, or perhaps to wrap up, 
tobacco, was held out to his own family as a model 
of perseverance and industry, because he separated 
two pounds of black and white pepper which had 
accidentally been mixed, and went thirty-six times 
(as he used to calculate) into his shop for a farthing. 
On his finding it necessary to assume what he 


used to call his dignity in later life, and having oc- 
casion for his armorial bearings, he used to mention 
with great glee the circumstance of his arms being 
found on what might probably have passed for a 
piece of grandeur in his family in early times, on a 
tankard belonging to an elder branch, to which the 
family estate at Lancliffe at present belongs ; but 
with a mischievous pertinacity in maintaining the 
low origin of his family, he used to take every op- 
portunity of insisting that even this tankard was 
bought at a sale. " Thus," said he, when being 
subdean of Lincoln, he was in company where fa- 
mily and family arms were more than sufficiently 
attended to, " was I sporting away with the arms of 
the Lord knows who, and famous blazing arms they 
were." To which he added, " this I take to be the 
history of many coats of arms we see now-a-days." 
Being still in want of a crest, which this same family 
plate denied to him, he humorously proposed, or 
was highly pleased with the suggestion of a malt- 
shovel, from its suitableness with what he supposed 
the only trade of the family, as there still exists upon 
the premises belonging to the estate a large malt-kiln. 
This, however, was kept perhaps equally for the con- 
venience of the neighbourhood, as it was usual on 
many larger estates to afford the tenants the use of a 
malt-kiln ; and in justice to his ancestors, this might 
serve rather to aggrandize their state than make 
them into maltsters. There are a few local circum- 
stances connected with the name, which might have 
vol. i. c 


given him an opportunity of speaking of its anti- 
quity at least, without having recourse to the He- 
rald's office, but he was better satisfied to take it as 
he found it. These recollections, however, afforded 
amusement for many an hour with his family. With 
a district so singular in the romantic wildness of its 
scenery, compared with much of the surrounding 
country, but more singular, at least in his early days, 
for the almost characteristic independence and sim- 
plicity of its inhabitants, his associations seemed en- 
tirely pleasurable ; but it might be because he had 
often afterwards an opportunity of renewing his early 
impressions at a time when other scenes and objects 
had drawn his attention, and when he might be 
forcibly struck with the difference, rather than, as 
has been represented, " from his feeling himself most 
at home, because the unworn asperities of his nature, 
as they excited the least surprise, so gave the least 
offence *." The esteem with which he was always 
received, and the cordiality of his welcome, made 
him sensible that the worth and integrity of his 
friends in Craven were far too valuable to make him 
attend at all to any reciprocal accommodations of 
mere manner, or any comfortable feeling of being 
set loose from the restrictions of polished society. 
He was little inclined either there or any where else 
to lay much stress on those little particularities of pri- 
vate life, which serve to annoy or to please inferior 

* Quarterly Review. 


minds, but few were more attentive to time, place, 
and situation. 

Inferences drawn from any recollections of early 
days are not much to be relied on, as indicating any 
thing of character ; except it be some prevailing tend- 
ency which unconsciously arises from early habits ; 
and it is not inaptly observed * that the cast of his 
character might be derived from his connexion with 
the place almost of his nativity. As far as it was 
" locus Graeca comitate et provinciali parsimonia 
mixtus, et bene compositus," he certainly was much 
indebted to it. The originality also of his character, 
as well as his bold independence in thinking and 
acting, might be partly owing to the manners of the 
place. But for the line of life marked out for him, 
for much of his force and aptness of expression, for 
many of his private habits, which materially influ- 
enced his public character, for his dislike of any sacri- 
fice of his time and occupations to the mere etiquette 
of life, for his economy on a plan, for his clever and 
often ridiculous calculation upon the wants and neces- 
sities of a family, for his observation upon the mi- 
nutiae of life, for his almost parsimonious habits in 
what regarded himself, and for his liberal, and even 
profuse, way of dealing with the wants of others, we 
may find some account in what he used often to re- 
late of his father and mother ; though as few families 
are without their peculiar secrets, any approach to- 

* Meadley, Appendix A, 2d edition. 

c 2 


wards meddling with what may be called the indivi- 
duality of a family must be rather fearful. On the 
death of his mother he says, among other things, 
" she was the most careful and affectionate of parents," 
and he who never said a word too much in his letters, 
though it cannot be expected that he should give this 
as the whole of her character, marked her leading 
traits as decidedly as it is held out by her acquaint- 
ance. She was a little, shrewd-looking, keen-eyed 
woman, of remarkable strength of mind and spirits; 
one of those positive characters that decide promptly, 
and execute at once; of a sanguine and irritable 
temper, which led her to be constantly on the alert 
in thinking and acting. Her characteristic excellence 
was in the conduct of her family concerns. It was 
very much the fashion of her day and of her neigh- 
bourhood to have, or aim at having, the reputation of 
good management. She was so thrifty in her house- 
wifery, that it not only formed the chief object of 
her attention, but gave rise to the only characteristic 
trait recorded of her in her family, viz. her turn for 
practical drollery. If she could surprise her servants 
in bed at four o'clock in the morning, she seized the 
opportunity of sparing herself the trouble of a scold, 
and yet gaining the advantages of it, by carrying up 
their breakfast, and with a curtsy, presenting it to 
the ladies. She was .certainly a clever managing 
woman. She had for her fortune «£400, which in 
those days, and in that neighbourhood, was almost 
sufficient to confer the title of an heiress ; at least it 


was a fair sum for one of good family. At the time 
of her marriage, which was much disapproved of as 
beneath what she ought to have expected, she rode 
on horseback behind her husband from Stackhouse, 
near Settle, in Craven, to Peterborough : she under- 
took the charge of the limited income which a vicarage 
of £35 a year, a minor canonry of Peterborough 
cathedral, and a few pupils afforded. She afterwards, 
on her husband's being elected master of the grammar 
school at Giggleswick, travelled back to her native 
country in the same plight, with her son on her lap, 
and all their worldly goods in a tea-chest. She kept 
her family, which increased to four children, re- 
putably and respectably, on a very limited income : 
she gave £100 to her husband towards building a 
house, and another hundred towards an outfit for 
her son at College, and upon her death left £2,200 
to her family, the accumulation of her small portion 
in the hands of a brother as managing as herself. 

Her husband was of a different cast of character ; 
liberal to profusion for his income, yet not only eco- 
nomical on a plan, but even scanty in his allowances 
to his family. It is not very important to know that 
shillings will become pounds, and hundreds, thou- 
sands ; but it may be worth notice, as showing what 
a short distance there is between a low estate and 
comparative opulence, and how soon a different rank 
and estimation in society may be gained, that this 
plan of economy and almost hereditary carefulness 
raised this younger son of a yeoman of no very opu~ 


lent family to comparative wealth and consideration. 
He was educated at the school of his native place, 
and after receiving the portion of a younger son, a 
good education, was entered at Christ's College, 
Cambridge, as a sizar, was presented to the small 
vicarage of Helpstone by his college (as a compen- 
sation for some disappointment in a fellowship), from 
which he seldom got more than £30 a year, and 
when he left that neighbourhood was obliged to be 
satisfied with a few flower seeds for his daughters, 
transmitted annually by his curate as a balance to the 
produce of his living. It would not at last maintain 
a curate. He removed to Peterborough, where he 
obtained a minor canonry ; was afterwards gratified 
by being elected schoolmaster of his native place on 
£80 a year, which afterwards became £200, and by 
the assistance as well as example of his managing 
wife, added to a legacy of £1,500, which laid the 
foundation perhaps of his family and fortune, con- 
trived to scrape together <^7>000. This same plan 
of putting forward both exertion and carefulness pro- 
cured to his son William, the subject of these Me- 
moirs, as far as was independent of the changes and 
chances of every man's lot, threefold both of fame 
and fortune from a very small beginning. And now 
we have done with worldly matters. 

The father of Dr. Paley was a cheerful, jocose man, 
a great wit, and an enlivening companion ; in his 
days of activity, fond of field sports, and more fond 
of company than was relished at home. In his neigh- 


bourhood he was esteemed a good and even a popular 
preacher. His Sermons, though not perhaps his own 
composition, were all short, substantial, and rather in- 
clined to reason than feeling. They are the writings 
of a rational Christian divine, fond of the almost 
exclusive consideration of subjects connected with 
the peculiar doctrines of Christianity. Sherlock and 
Clarke seem to have been his favourite models, and 
were largely drawn upon for furnishing the weekly 
supply. What is much more to his credit, he was a 
conscientious clergyman. He was twenty years curate 
of Giggleswick, and afterwards curate of Horton. 
He used to think himself one of the oldest incum- 
bents on one and the same vicarage in his diocese, 
and perhaps in England, being fifty-six years vicar of 
Helpstone. But his fame, in the estimation of both 
himself and others, was built upon his school. He was 
altogether a schoolmaster, both by long habit and in- 
clination, and when at the age of eighty-three, or 
eighty- four, he was obliged to have assistance (which 
was long before he wanted it in his own opinion), he 
used to be wheeled in his chair to his school, and even 
in the delirium of his last sickness, insisted upon 
giving his daughters a Greek author, over which they 
would mutter and mumble, to persuade him that he 
was still hearing his boys' Greek. He was rather 
coarse, but strong and significant in his language. 
He fancied himself a poet, and was fond of mouth- 
ing out shreds and patches of Greek and Latin, and 
English verse. He corrected his boys chiefly by 


similes taken from the most ordinary subjects of his 
observation. " To gabble like a mill-hopper ;" " to 
mutter like a wheel -barrow on a causeway ;" "to 
mumble like a bee in a fox-glove," are expressions 
which his scholars recollect to this day. He was 
from natural temperament, as well as from the habits 
of his profession, irritable and a disciplinarian, and, 
carried his authority to his home, perhaps more from 
not being able to leave it at his school, than from 
any view of its necessity or use. The natural bent 
of his mind during his leisure was towards contempla- 
tion and country employments. He was found in the 
hay-field among his work-people, or sitting in his 
elbow-chair in the fields nibbling his stick, or with 
the tail of his damask gown rolled into his pocket, busy- 
ing himself in his garden even at the age of eighty ; 
and if he could not improve it, was not seldom de- 
tected in making a common destruction of walk, 
border, and grass-plat. 

From these parents, all their children inherited an 
eminently substantial character ; a ready application 
of their reasoning powers to the practice of life ; a 
natural brilliancy of common sense, rather than of wit ; 
a strong bias towards worldly considerations, regulated 
by a much stronger inclination to, and feeling of, 
superior duties, and a most liberal disregard of their 
own, in comparison with their neighbours' conve- 
nience. Their son William, though he sometimes 
used to suppose himself destined for an humble situa- 
tion, was always designed for a learned profession for 


many reasons. His mother desired that the only son 
of a man who stood so deservedly high in her estima- 
tion, as well as in that of her neighbours, should be 
distinguished ; and his own inclination, joined to the 
praise of the neighbourhood, as is generally the case, 
led him to think his father an eminent man, and made 
him so proud of the profession of a teacher and a cler- 
gyman, that he adopted it almost insensibly. The 
first effort of that quickness and shrewdness of reply, 
which distinguished him so much afterwards, seems 
to have shown itself on this subject ; for at a very early 
age, on being scolded by his mother, who finished 
with " God give thee grace ;" " Ay, mother," he 
replied, " Grace o' God and Grace o' Canterbury 
will do for me." Besides, there had been in the 
family one eminent man, who had been vicar of 
Hunslet, in Leeds ; a literary character, remarkably 
studious, and an author of some repute. His inter- 
ference, and his fondness for his own calling, along 
with a library well stocked with old divinity, had given 
Dr. Paley's father a taste and a bias to the clerical 
profession -> and these inducements might have their 
influence in determining the destination of the son. 
It were to be wished that in the following part 
of these memoirs Dr. Paley might be found drawing 
in his own way as much of his own life and cha- 
racter as of his parents. But of his younger days he 
seldom spoke, except when he was disposed to amuse 
a leisure hour with his sisters in more advanced life. 
There seems to be not only a gap in this part of his 


life found by most of his biographers, but a want of 
incident throughout. Few, perhaps, have written of 
a life so devoid of incident, and yet so eminently 
distinguished for talent and integrity ; and fewer still 
have, perhaps, read what has been written without 
being forcibly struck with a paucity of fact and inci- 
dent* to relieve the dry detail of intellectual ad- 
vancement. It is pretty obvious, as is well observed!, 
" that the lives of men of letters do not usually abound 
with incident," because the life of a student, and one 
devoted to literature, is necessarily so distinct from 
the ordinary business of the world, that but little can 
occur to vary the outward circumstances of his time. 
Yet this observation does not quite satisfy those who 
were acquainted with Dr. Paley, because though 
wholly bent upon making the most of the powers and 
faculties of his mind, he was not a man to be turned 
from the most trifling outward circumstances. With 
a decided preference for mind, he was active and 
eager at all times to engage in the common bustle of 

* Meadley, who seems to have rummaged every corner with 
indefatigable industry, and I believe (for I have had opportuni- 
ties of knowing it through the kindness of his family) a scrupulous 
regard to accuracy as far as depended upon himself, is decidedly 
deficient in incident ; and in his second edition, where every ex- 
ertion is used to supply this defect, much is yet necessarily taken 
up with commenting on the writing and public sentiments of Dr. 
Paley. Of the Life, by Chalmers, little is to be said, except 
that the main facts are taken or corrected from Meadley, or 
from less authentic materials. 

t Mason's Gray. 


life. Perhaps a part of his character, the most striking 
even to a cursory observer, was that union of religious 
sentiment, of moral principle, of strong literary taste 
and ability, with a more than ordinary attention to 
common-place subjects. Such was the elasticity of 
his mind, that he could go, or rather be led away, not 
as a mere matter of relaxation, or a temporary sus- 
pension of mind, but with all the vigour and applica- 
tion that he had been giving to his former subject, 
from writing a page of his Natural Theology, or ex- 
pressing a deep sentiment in a visitation sermon, to 
arranging some flower-pots in his garden, or gathering 
vegetables or fruit for dinner. In one and the same 
letter he writes upon the principle and expediency of 
keeping the poor off the parish, and in the next para- 
graph gives an excellent receipt for cheap broth of 
Scotch cabbage and grits, and coarse beef. But not 
to trench farther upon what may be opened out in the 
following pages, it may be sufficient, in order to ac- 
count for this want of incident in a character so distin- 
guished for useful talents, to notice his abhorrence of 
all the arts by which public fame might have been 
obtained ; his discreet vigilance in not obtruding him- 
self into notice without a fit occasion, rather than any 
coy wish to be drawn out ; his prevailing taste for pri- 
vate and domestic enjoyment ; and the even tenor of 
his life which both natural inclination and the pro- 
fession of a consistent clergyman led him to preserve. 
He was born at Peterborough, 1743, but in little 
more than a year removed to Giggleswick, the birth- 


place of his family, and almost of himself. There is 
authority enough, however, for representing him in his 
younger days as a tall, awkward boy, remarkable 
amongst boys for nothing but animation and liveli- 
ness of spirits, great talkativeness, clumsiness in his 
attempts at dexterity and boyish sports, the perfect 
good nature and complacency with which he bore all 
the taunts and jeers of his companions, and the great 
inclination which showed itself even at that age, for 
acute, but good-humoured retorts. From the awk- 
wardness of his gait, his unwillingness to join in active 
sports, his fondness for tricks and mimicking, that had 
something beyond the general habit of boys, or from 
his being one of those boys to whom such names easily 
and naturally attach, he was always called Doctor by 
his school-fellows. When he was very young, he was 
caught pulling out a little girl's tooth, because he had 
seen a quack doctor, the celebrated Dr. Katerfelto, 
amongst some mountebanks in his village, performing 
the same operation. He was not at all proud of his 
independence, or bold or forward in personal courage 
as a boy. He had none of the saucy pertness of a 
tyrant school -boy, conscious of his own superiority in 
any thing, but a great share of that amiable sort of 
prudence and forethought, that marks the cast of 
mind rather than bodily or mental vigour. On being 
told of the death of a school-fellow, he said, he did not 
much wonder, for he was the only boy in the school 
he ever did or ever could thrash. Strange as it must 
have seemed to himself, who, of all men living, was 


one of the most feeling guardians of the animal crea- 
tion (maugre what his biographers Meadley, and with 
a sympathetic, or perhaps copied humanity, Chalmers, 
have said of his fishing), the only pastime he then 
joined in was cock-fighting ; but it is necessary to say, 
that by a school, or rather school-boy's charter, leave 
was obtained by the governors or trustees at the annual 
audit, for not only the boys, but the masters, to attend 
a cock-fighting, which the whole neighbourhood fre- 
quented. Consequently the keeping and feeding and 
fighting of cocks became a matter of state policy. 

The years of childhood are the same in thousands, 
who are not afterwards to make a figure in the world ; 
but as bespeaking something peculiarly characteristic 
in after life, it may be well to observe how far this 
strong disinclination for common sports and taste for 
original diversions might lead him to pursue with 
more satisfaction both a line of life and a mode of 
signalizing himself so different from the pursuits of 
his companions, or of his neighbourhood, at that 
time. By his parents, however, he was reckoned a 
weak and delicate boy, and this might account to 
them for his aversion to the rough sports of boys, and 
might lead himself to indulge in a moody sort of ani- 
mation, which, without being characteristic of finer 
feeling, or poetical sensibility, led him to droll tricks 
with his neighbours, and to win by his kindness and 
attention, and pleasantry, the favour of all the old 
women in the neighbourhood. To these and to his* 
sisters he showed an evident preference; such com- 


pany he courted, and at the cottage fire-side he 
always found a welcome. He was even at that time 
fond of fishing, partly perhaps from following the 
taste of the neighbourhood in one of the finest trout 
rivers in England, and partly from finding in it a 
certain quiet whiling away of time, to which he seems 
at that time to have been partial. He certainly 
neither professed, nor wished to attain excellence in 
the art. He was much laughed at by his associates 
for his clumsy fishing tackle, and want of dexterity; 
but he continued so remarkably attached to it during 
the remainder of his life without being signally suc- 
cessful, that his love for it may fairly be imputed 
rather to his fondness for the quietness and peace, 
and the workings of the mind that accompany the 
sport, than any anxiety for the prey. A bite and a 
nibble were to him a good day's sport at any time of 
his life, and if by chance he came off with a single 
rise at his fly, he was fully satisfied. At this age he 
was remarkable for the keenness and acuteness and 
shrewdness of his observations. An old woman knit- 
ting, or a neighbouring joiner at his work, afforded 
a rare exercise for his inquisitiveness and originality. 
These were his usual places of resort when very 
young, and he used not seldom to sit up all night 
with one of his neighbours to watch the process of 
soap-boiling. There is one anecdote given of him 
in his family, which whether from mere coincidence, 
or some more worthy prognostication, peculiarly 
marks that artless disposition which characterised him 


through the rest of his life. When a mere boy, pro- 
bably from the same principle which tempts other boys 
to imitate their fathers, he was found preaching in 
the market-cross of his village, and bawling out to a 
circle of old women and boys, " Behold an Israelite 
indeed, in whom there is no guile." " Ay, for sure," 
said an old lady who was passing, " every body knows 
thou art a guileless lad." 

As to his abilities or attainments at school, his 
father seemed more disposed to rate them by his ge- 
neral character out of the school, than by any strict 
or brilliant application to his exercises. If any judge- 
ment of his performances can be drawn from his own 
account, it may seem that he was more observant 
of the regular discipline of the school, and of his 
father, and less satisfied with himself by reason of 
his own indolence, than has been represented. He 
was kept close to his books ; he never stood in need 
of correction, but stood much in awe of his father, if 
by chance an exercise was unfinished or idly per- 
formed. So far was this carried, that he once, in 
company with his cousins and another boy who lodged 
in his father's house, not only ran away from home, 
but persevered in it, till, at night-fall, finding their 
beds on a wide and waste moor or peat-moss not so 
commodious as they had been used to, and not being 
designed by nature for little heroes, one of them pre- 
tended to be a conjuror, and assured them that he 
had heard something fly past with Wl littington's mes- 
sage on a similar occasion, and the? next morning 


found them at their post. It ought to be mentioned, 
that this little freak was the only indication given 
during his life of his ever being weary of his work, 
or of his ever feeling a wish to desert the task of 
labouring with his mind rather than his body. 

For the credit, however, both of the school and 
schoolmaster (since that seems rather misrepresented 
or dubiously spoken of*), it ought to be told that it 
was then (at the present time peculiarly so) in as 
high repute as any other of the old grammar schools 
in the north ; that its fame was grounded chiefly on 
being a classical school ; that as to making accom- 
plished classical scholars, it was rather an object with 
the master to enable them to proceed by grounding 
them well; and that his son, though by no means 
brought forward before others, or obtaining any re- 
markable pre-eminence over any of his competitors, 
was indebted to him for whatever he obtained of his 
classical information, and of his classical taste ; that he 
was more particularly indebted to his father for much 
of that accuracy and exactness in training young 
minds to the same taste; that his fitness for the 
office of tutor, in which most of his biographers have 
made him pre-eminent, was probably the result of 
this regular and systematic teaching of his father; 
and that the system of discipline which made so im- 
portant a part of both his public and private instruc- 
tion in his more mature years was but the fruit of 

* See Quarterly Review. — Meadley. — Chalmers. 


the same seed. He appears to have retained much 
more fondness for his classical than his mathematical 
acquirements ; the very contrary of which is asserted*, 
without any warrant. He was far from ambitious of 
reputation in either study, and pursued them rather 
as necessary means to a future profession than fondled 
them for their own sake. 

At the age of fifteen (1758) his father entered him 
as sizar at his own college (Christ's) at Cambridge; 
and wishing to visit his friends and his little vicarage, 
he accompanied his son on horseback, the only mode 
of travelling then in use in his neighourhood. Dr. 
Paley's account of the matter was as follows : "I was 
sent earlier to college than any young man before or 
since ; and the reason was this — my mother wished 
to make a baker of me, and my father had made up 
his mind that I should be a parson. Having just 
recovered from a fit of illness when I was at the age 
of fifteen, he took me to college, and had me entered 
upon the books." On this occasion, it being observed 
by the Mayor of Lincoln, that it w 7 as a fortunate cir- 
cumstance, as they should not have had the pleasure 
of having him there ; " That does not follow, Mr. 
Mayor," he replied; " for though not subdean, I 
might have been Mayor of Lincoln." 

It was to be expected that a lad of fifteen, just 
emerging from his hills on a pony of his own, and 
with his pockets full of money, should be more struck 

* Chalmers. 
VOL. I. D 


with the novelty of his situation than with any other 
event at that time ; and so he would, had not his 
whole mind been engrossed with jockey ship. He 
used to recollect it with great pleasure ; and being 
constantly disposed to make his wit and ridicule fall 
upon himself rather than others, would relate his 
disastrous journey and his numerous falls, and his 
father's caution with regard to his money, in the 
very language and manner already made public. On 
his return with his father, he was sent, as a prepara- 
tion for the university, for one year to Dishforth, 
near TopclifFe, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 
to be under a young man who was just leaving his 
father's school to take upon him the office of village 
schoolmaster at that place, and who being a remark- 
ably simple, honest, and worthy character, was much 
esteemed both by Dr. Paley and his father. Here, 
when he became subdean of Lincoln, on his annual 
journey from Bishop Wearmouth to that place, he 
pointed out to his family, with great seeming satis- 
faction, the very house he lived in for £8 a year; 
spoke much of the familiar manner in which he 
passed his time with the villagers, but never said a 
word about his acquirements in mathematics, which 
must have been great, considering that with one 
year's preparation for the university, and with the 
assistance of a person but little older than himself, 
he was able, and conscious enough of his power, not- 
withstanding his abuse of the intermediate time, to 
become senior wrangler. This place he seemed 


anxious to mark in his recollection for two things — 
for his being attracted by the simplicity of his host's 
family, and for his now first having an orange of his 
own; in other words, from first feeling his own 
master. But if this was all that he thought worthy 
of notice, others in the village and in the school 
were ready enough to observe so many peculiarities 
in him, that he readily gained the reputation of being 
crazed. From his habit of constantly pondering, 
and musing, and employing his thoughts, he was 
much alone. The place of his most frequent resort 
was a pump in the middle of the village, which he 
used to aim at from the side of the road a dozen 
times before he could hit it. His master observed, 
that when they walked together to the neighbouring 
town of Borough- Bridge, what was eight miles to 
him, his friend Paley, by his strange turnings, and 
twistings, and stoppings, managed ingeniously to 
make sixteen. Here too his vicinity to Knares- 
borough, where his uncle lived, gave him an oppor- 
tunity of interesting himself much about Eugene 
Aram, who, he used to say, was hanged, if ever man 
was, by his own ingenuity. To this event, and to 
his associations with it, he used to think was owing 
his great fondness for matters of judicature, and par- 
ticularly for criminal courts. It might probably 
have been the first application of a mind already 
prepared for close observation ; at any rate it seems 
to have been the first exercise of a faculty in which 
he afterwards so much excelled. 

d 2 


When he was sixteen years old, he went to reside 
in college, probably not only from the fashion of 
sending young men so much earlier, but in order 
that he might be sooner able to stickle for himself, 
as his phrase was; but whether he was partly led 
away by the charm of dissipation, and by the novelty 
of a college life*, or felt some dissatisfaction at the 
manner in which he spent the early part of his time 
there, cannot now be ascertained. It is stated as 
a probability in the work alluded to, without any 
mark of his dissent. He certainly disapproved much 
of the plan of sending mere boys to college, and 
practised nearly the opposite extreme in his own fa- 
mily. It is not to be understood that he was inat- 
tentive to the general pursuits of a university educa- 
tion ; but perhaps not in a way to satisfy a prediction 
which his father had made to one of his boarders, 
" My son will be a great man ; I am certain of 

* Public Characters for 1802. This work, desultory as it is 
in most of its articles, and much as he used to smile at the article 
belonging to his name, was presented to him in his lifetime, and 
corrected by him in many of the facts by marginal notes, very 
much in his manner. " No, no, unjust, forgery, foolish para- 
graph, questionable date." And this, to which I have alluded 
already, is the only piece of information which can be considered 
authentic from his own hand. I have availed myself of it where- 
ever I can. I have reason to think that the " character of Arch- 
deacon Paley" was inserted by one whose information on the 
subject need not have been scanty, and whose general character 
for eminent abilities was very high. I believe this to have been 
made known to, or at least strongly suspected by Dr. Paley him- 
self. Ed. 


it, for he has by far the clearest head and the most 
observation of any body I know." As he was how- 
ever always indisposed to bodily activity, it may 
naturally be supposed that great liveliness of spirits, 
elasticity of mind, desultoriness of study, fondness 
for company, would be against severe application. 
Still he was known to have been at that time, as well 
as whilst he was at school, remarkably attentive to 
the main object of a student ; nor did his father ever 
find occasion for dissatisfaction during his vacations. 
He was certainly not distinguished* for his diligence; 
nor did any but himself seem to think him distin- 
guished for idleness. His rooms presented perhaps 
the best picture of his mind, or rather of his desultory 
mode of pursuing his studies; for he could never 
consent to place his books in any order, but had 
authors of all kinds thrown on the floor around him. 
His third year of residence in college was remark- 
able for not only a fresh and continued application 
to the sort of reading required for a high degree at 
Cambridge, but, what seems to have given the first 
spring to his extraordinary powers, that degree of 
satisfaction and gratification in the pursuit of an ob- 
ject which never afterwards seems to have left him. 
To this period of his life may be very well assigned 
an opinion which is given t to some later passage of 
it : " his powers, once roused, became spontaneously 
and abundantly prolific; and the native fertility of 

* Biographical Dictionary. Aikin. t Quarterly Review. . 


his mind, instead of being exhausted or impaired by 
a single push, appeared to be invigorated by severe 
exertion." His mind seems from this time never to 
have been satisfied without an object. What it had 
been before may be partly conjectured from a letter 
to one of his sons, who being at that age when boys 
usually, if ever, feel disposed to indulge hypochon- 
driacal feelings, had described the state of his mind 
to him, and was answered with " Experto crede, at 
your age I was like you, and have found since that 
there is nothing like having something to do ; stick 
to your business, and depend upon it that your mind 
will return." He now, however, had the good sense 
to attend to the advice and judicious interference of 
his tutor Wilson (afterwards judge Wilson), of whom 
he ever after retained a grateful remembrance*. 

By Mr. Wilson he was recommended to Mr. 
Thorpe, who was at that time of eminent use to 
young men in preparing them for the senate-house 
examination, and peculiarly successful. One young 

* There is a story related by Meadley of a bedside scene, 
which that gentleman gained from some of Paley's friends, but 
has very properly withdrawn into a note in the second edition of 
his Memoirs. I do not believe there is any good authority for 
it, because it does not seem to consist either with his general 
character before this period, or with the fact that his private 
tutor, Wilson, did actually stir him up by his advice to try for the 
highest honours. Another strong presumption against the tale 
is, that his family, whom he was constantly in the habit of urging 
to exertiou by every little story and incident that he could find, 
would probably not have been ignorant of it. Ed. 


man, of no shining reputation, with the assistance of 
Mr. Thorpe's tuition, had stood at the head of the 
wranglers ; and soon after Dr. Paley introduced him- 
self to Mr. Thorpe, stating that it was a great object 
with him to obtain academical distinction, and added 
in his own peculiar manner, " If you could make **** 
senior wrangler, you may have some chance with me *." 
He rose early, as he had not done before ; he saw no 
company during the day, as he had done before, his room 
being seldom free from loungers ; and allowed himself 
an hour at night to eat his bread and cheese at Dock- 
rel's coffee-house, in Trompington-street. Thus he 
used to say he became senior wrangler in the year 
1763. The contest was between Mr. Frere and him- 
self; but as the little disappointments of one and suc- 
cesses of another candidate have often, both before and 
since, been repeated, it is scarcely uncommon enough 
to dwell upon, except it be to state that he has added 
in his own hand a doubt to the story of an estate 
being promised to Mr. Frere in the event of success f. 
It is pleasant at this day to find his friends so jealous 
of his fame as to mention all the minute circumstances 
of his success. For himself, who would have been 
ready either to allow the fairness, or laugh at the con- 
jectures of his friends or opponents in any decision 

* With Dr. Thorpe, afterwards archdeacon of Northumber- 
land, Dr. Paley had an opportunity, when at Bishop Wearmouth, 
of renewing his acquaintance. 

f By putting a Q. to the margin of the Public Characters. 


with respect to a tripos, he was content to say neither 
more nor less than that he had very nearly lost it by 
the badness of his hand-writing. 

In the keeping of his act previous to his senate- 
house examination, he was the very innocent cause of 
some little disagreement and squabble between Mr. 
Watson (afterwards bishop of LlandafF), the mo- 
derator, and Dr. Thomas, the master of Christ's ; the 
latter of whom feared for the orthodoxy of his college, 
if he had allowed an undergraduate of his own to 
muster his talents against the eternity of hell tor- 
ments. This interference the moderator blamed ; and 
perhaps with more want of temper than either pru- 
dence or love of free discussion, showed that he would 
have been glad if the young man could have supported 
that side of the question. Dr. Thomas, however, 
whether at the suggestion of any other, or from his 
own opinion of the freedom with which such questions 
were likely to be treated by the bold genius of a young 
man, or alarmed by being told that the general atten- 
tion of the university was roused by such a question, 
expostulated with him on the impropriety of his en- 
countering such a subject. Paley readily assured him 
that there was not the least intention to offend, nor 
any suspicion that he could draw down the notice, 
much less the displeasure, of the university ; adding, 
that it was a question which seemed to invite ori- 
ginality ; and this he thought of more consequence to 
himself than to the university. Whether he was con- 
scious of having carried the taste for paradox into 


graver subjects, and therefore would have been ready 
to acknowledge the kindness of Dr. Thomas, and the 
perfect propriety of his interference, or he was in- 
clined to regret that Mr. Watson did not willingly 
give him the liberty he begged, of withdrawing his 
question altogether, — it is certain that he afterwards 
held in a peculiar and for him rather impatient degree 
of dislike the remembrance of that learned man, who 
as a moderator dealt favourably with him. It rests 
indeed upon mere conjecture, whether that opinion 
of the bishop of Llandaffmight be taken up on account 
of the opposition he at that time showed to the ma- 
ster's objection, or to any of this prelate's transactions 
or sentiments in later life. It does not appear that 
there was any acquaintance between them beyond this 
period, nor could it be owing to any known or sus- 
pected want of congeniality, for they never came at 
all into collision. After all, perhaps the best reply 
to any insinuation which the very mention of this cir- 
cumstance by his biographers may seem to imply is, 
that whatever his sentiments were at the time, or the 
bias of his opinions, he seems to have kept them to 
himself; and that such bold attempts at freedom of 
discussion seem rather to rest upon the discovery of 
others than his own intentions. It is but fair that 
allowance should be made for the circumstances under 
which any young man would choose a question from 
Johnson's Quaestiones Philosophies ; and this will at 
once show that it is unnecessary to suppose any pecu- 
liarity of sentiment or course of cogitation involved 


in the choice of such a subject. Something has been 
said of the uncoothness of Paley's manners, the ec- 
centricity of his finery, and the general slovenliness 
of his dress. He is said to have attracted general 
attention in the schools, by appearing with his hair 
full-dressed, a deep ruffled shirt, and new silk stock- 
ings, which, aided by his gestures, his actions, and his 
whole manner, when earnestly engaged in a debate, 
excited no small mirth among his spectators. These 
are, it is true, unimportant points, which are, perhaps, 
unworthy of farther notice, but that they enable 
the present writer of this sketch to account for them 
once for all by giving a well-stamped mark of this ex- 
traordinary person which accompanied him through 
life, viz. such a decided respect for institutions of all 
kinds, even the most minute and insignificant ceremo- 
nies and observances of life, as might lead him, with 
his then notions of civilized and polite ranks, to overdo 
in the external appearance of his person. Yet there 
was such an eagerness for any research which might 
engage his mental powers, and such a natural, artless 
love of argumentation, that forgetting all this sacrifice 
to finery, he would not care to appear quite at home 
on his subject. Neat and plain in his dress on his 
appearance in public, but extremely afraid of any 
sacrifice of his time to his own personal comfort, the 
same habits seem to have accompanied him throughout 
his life, which to a mere stranger might easily appear 
those of a sloven ; but to his friends, who knew his 
wish to avoid any singularity, or affect any eccentri- 


city either outwardly or inwardly, they seemed only 
the usual attendants of active and energetic facul- 
ties*. Add to this, that his manner and action were 
formed upon no model of elegance or grace. " Na- 
ture herself might have called him eloquent," but no- 
body else would, who had seen his unseemly and 
strange mouthing even in latest life, in endeavouring 
to convey his impressions, which were eminently 
•strong, or his feelings, which were much stronger, 
say on any passage of Virgil, Cicero's Orations, Shake- 
speare, Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, &c. &c. ; he 
was wrought up and carried away into more droll 
gesticulation than his general attention to reason 
would have allowed his hearers to expect. These 
circumstances might have been uncommon enough to 
make him famous in the schools of the university; 
and with his ardour and acuteness in disputation, 
caused them to be well attended on his act. One of 
his most intimate friends used to amuse Dr. Paley 
and his family with relating his appearance in the 
schools under the warmth of argument. On being 
posed by his adversary, he would stand with his head 

* I have seen' in some magazine, or periodical publication, an 
accurate description of his appearance in his lecture-room, with 
his night-cap, his breeches knees unbuttoned, his stockings 
awry, one leg upon his knee, lounging on his chair, and picking 
his beard. This is forcibly and painfully striking, as agreeing 
exactly with the figure that I should have been tempted to present 
of our constant, and first and most diligent instructor, when 
coming from school to breakfast, we took our stand with our 
grammar lesson in his study. Ed. 


dropping upon one of his shoulders, and both his 
thumbs in his mouth ; on striking out his answer with 
the animation of a evpr^a he would stretch his arms, 
rub his hands, and speak out his exultation in every 
feature of his face and muscle of his body. He seems 
to have been quite wrapped up in his subject ; so much 
so, that his ardour, both at that time and in more 
grave and weighty discussions afterwards, must have 
met with hearers unobserving indeed, if they were 
not struck with it, and indifferent, if they were not 
interested. It has been said that his promptitude of 
delivery, and strength of conception, did more for 
him in the senate-house examination than his mathe- 
matical acquirements ; and his fluent delivery* has 
been spoken of as rather signal in his lecture-room ; 
it may be well therefore to observe, that if any judge- 
ment can be formed from a later period (when it 
might be supposed that habit and practice would have 
added to his manner of expression), his delivery, 
though not hesitating, was considerably embarrassed. 
He seemed to labour with the very liveliness of his 
conceptions, agreeably to Dean Swift's simile, " per- 
sons rushing out of church block up the doorway." 
So very rapid was the flow of his ideas, and so wide 
the range of his conceptions, that between hunting 
out proper expressions of them, and preserving his 
short and pithy mode of delivering his sentiments, 
his language was full of unevennesses, and his enun- 

* Meadley. 


ciation rather entangled. A periodical publication*, 
in its review of Meadley's Memoirs, has observed, 
with somewhat more taste than accuracy, on the sin- 
gularity of a circumstance which seems very doubt- 
ful f, that the first production of his pen should have 
been an ode in the manner of Ossian. But the accom- 
panying remark, " that he never afterwards showed 
any one particle of taste for poetry," is an assumption. 
He was by no means deficient in either his taste or 
his fondness for poetry. He might indeed inherit 
from his father an imagination sufficiently discursive, 
and in his school-boy days he was partial to scribbling 
little pieces of rhyme ; and afterwards he improved 
his taste by an acquaintance with, and constant habit 
of dipping into, most of our English poets. His con- 
stant ardour, as well as elasticity of mind, gave abun- 
dant room for his being anxious^ as well as the ele- 
gance and soundness of his taste did of his being able, 
to relish them. It is not improbable, that whatever 
enthusiasm he possessed when young gave way to a 
stronger and more matured power of reason. 

This remark naturally introduces another which is 
authorised indeed, " nullis in hoc suis sermonibus 
sed quia par videbatur," as well as by its standing 

**Quarterly Review. 

t What leads me to doubt of this circumstance is, that he gave 
me a copy of the Luctus Cantabrigiensis on that occasion, and 
pointed out some pieces that were thought eminently dull in his 
day, but said nothing of himself or his own attempts. Ed. 


uncontradicted in the work above alluded to *, and 
by the habits of his life afterwards, viz. that he did 
not follow up either mathematical or metaphysical 
learning at all, any farther than suited his office of 
tutor. There are reasons for thinking that he viewed 
them only in the light of opening and preparing the 
mind for more useful studies, for studies at least more 
congenial to the cast of his own mind. He never 
certainly made either an object or an amusement of 
them afterwards. If this opinion should be correct, 
it will serve at least to show the facility with which 
only a short and unwearied attention attains its ob- 
ject, even against the stronger bent of inclination ; 
for he has been heard to say, that he did not know 
that he ever perfectly worked a simple rule of three 
question, or did more in arithmetic than add up his 

On taking his degree, he was desirous of working 
his own way, and bent upon sparing his father's 
money, which he had always obtained when he ap- 
plied for it ; but such applications were neither fre- 
quent, nor accompanied by much observation besides, 
from which any thing can be collected of his under- 
graduateship. He offered first to take the situation 
of usher in his father's school, and upon being de- 
sired to carve out his own way without stopping or 
preventing his views by any attention to his father, 
accepted an offer soon made to him by his tutor, Mr. 

* Public Characters. 


Shepherd, of a similar situation in an academy at 
Greenwich. He often described this as a woful 
drudgery, though he now set out first in the world 
in a way that suited well enough his prevailing taste 
for observation on men and manners. It may seem 
indeed surprising, and it has surprised many, who 
value literary distinction only as it adds to a man's 
worldly interest, that a youth of nineteen, with the 
highest honour of the university fresh upon him, 
should sit down so easily to the drudgery of an aca- 
demy, or even to the more exalted task of commu- 
nicating instruction in a college lecture-room ; but 
let it be considered, that in all situations, he never 
was known to flinch from labour, or to dislike the 
mere circumstances of his lot ; in all he was resolved 
to do his best, and he who found entertainment and 
interest in every thing, might be easily led by his 
superior powers to make entertainment of even car- 
rying on instruction. He seems to have been easily 
weaned from any desire for home, by the considera- 
tion of being both useful to himself, and holding 
himself in readiness for any opening in the university. 
His near neighbourhood too to London, where he 
was a constant attendant on the houses of parliament, 
the theatre, and when a holiday would allow, on the 
courts of law, where he took an especial interest " in 
the fate of his friends," the prisoners, as he used to 
call them, was sufficient with him to compensate for 
many more unpleasant circumstances than he had to 
endure. The acting of Garrick would at any time 


make him walk to London without his dinner, in 
order that he might be there in time. He at that 
time used to choose his seat in the centre of the pit, 
a short distance from the stage, because he observed 
a knot of stage critics generally seated thereabouts. 
In after life, when he still continued peculiarly fond 
of even the worst theatrical exhibitions, his first care 
was to bustle up to what he thought the best place, 
which was in front of the actors, as near the stage as 
his situation might allow. 

It is observed that he was not a little mortified 
with this his first occupation as the second usher in 
a mere academy, not devoted to the sort of literature 
with which he had been conversant. But his object 
was employment and emolument, more than any 
prospect of, or love for, a particular course of study. 
It is certain that the pursuit of classical or mathe- 
matical knowledge made no part of his object, neither 
probably had he occasion to ask himself the reason 
of his taking this situation, since one who is by prin- 
ciple, as well as inclination, resolved to throw himself 
entirely into the service of his station, whatever it 
may be, seldom troubles his head about the little 
annoyances belonging alike to every office. It does 
not appear to have occurred to him as any thing 
more than an employment from which he obtained a 
certain stipend. He took much delight in observing 
upon Mr. Bracken's stipulation, and the importance 
which was attached to it by its being referred to Dr. 
Shepherd, who procured for him the situation. It 


was made part of the bargain that he should wear a 
wig, and sit behind the door. He thought he had 
little occasion for such a signal decoration to his 
head in order to give an air of dignity and age to his 
face, till on going home shortly after on a visit to 
his friends, he found Mr. Bracken's proposal very 
judicious, for he was received by some of his coun- 
trymen as his old aunt's husband. 

He did not, however, droop in his situation of as- 
sistant in a school, nor let go his hold either of his 
interest in his old studies, or of the pursuit of aca- 
demical honours. In 1765 he gained the Bachelor's 
prize by a Latin essay on the subject, " Utrum civi- 
tati perniciosior sit Epicuri an Zenonis philosophia." 
He undertook to advocate the Epicureans, and this 
circumstance, together with its having called forth 
more notice from some of his biographers than seems 
to belong to it, makes it necessary to observe (what 
otherwise would scarcely be of importance amongst 
many University prizes), that there is no appearance 
on the face of the Essay of any peculiarity of senti- 
ment, except perhaps it be a leaning towards ex- 
posing the hypocrisy of Stoicism. If any thing else 
is to be noticed upon this first attempt to excite 
public attention in any way, besides that it is a sub- 
ject which was congenial enough to his own turn of 
thought and habit of observation, and one on which 
he could show an ingenuity and closeness of argu- 
mentation, it is this — that the prevailing traits of his 
mind in later life are very conspicuously seen in that 

VOL. I. E 


balancing between two opposite opinions, that dis- 
cernment of the laudanda et culpanda of each, that 
liberality in construing men's motives, that freedom 
and independence of discussion, that advocating of 
an injured party, which are at once the best pro- 
tection to, as well as accompaniments of, ingenuous- 
ness and candour. " Latuit forsan Veritas intervallo 
prope pari utrinque reducta. Non igitur Zenonis 
praecepta Epicureorum ex libris haurienda, nee tamen 
ponendus est Epicurus qualis exhibetur a Stoicis — 
quorum alter multum adversatur reipublicae, multum 
uterque." The popularity of the Stoics, says the 
writer in a note, those Pharisees in philosophy, is 
easily accounted for. The all-sufficiency of virtue to 
complete our happiness will ever be the theme of 
popular eloquence, and the language, if not of nature, 
at least of pride. Zeno was a politician, and in that 
light, it will appear, has advanced many things imme- 
diately destructive of the welfare, some things fatal 
to the existence, of a state. Epicurus was a more 
speculative philosopher, and therefore if his principles 
were pernicious, it was only in their more remote 
consequences. " Candidi vero estimatoris est non 
quid quisque dicat, sed quid cuique dicendum erat, 
videre. Philosophi autem constanter sibi, conveni- 
enterque sentire*." When it is considered that his 

* Something ought perhaps to be said for making extracts 
from this essay, rather than adding the essay itself in an ap- 
pendix. The former plan is followed merely so far as may be 


genius and love of disputation, with something per- 
haps of a wish to make, if not the worse, yet the less 
favoured side appear more favourable, might easily 
incline him to the less obvious side of the question ; 
and that his subject was not at his own option, nor 
appears in any way connected with his services to 
morality in later life, it must be looked upon as 
amongst the singularities of coincidence, rather than 
as any taste or distaste for the principles of these 
philosophers, that any inference drawn from this essay 
may be applied to the moral writings of Dr. Paley. 
It cannot indeed be more than conjectured ; but the 
age at which he wrote, the subject chosen in the 
ordinary course of university exercises, the line of 
study which it embraced being never afterwards fol- 
lowed by himself, are circumstances which make it 
doubtful whether any particular passages of this essay 
may be produced as indicative of the bent of the 
writer's mind. At any rate, he certainly had little ad- 
miration for the Epicurean principle, which he seems 
to have thought irrelevant to his subject; much less 
will any one of his friends who knew him well suspect 
that there was any tendency in him towards a wide 
construction in favour of even doubtful morality. In- 
deed it is to show but a slight acquaintance with any 
heathen philosophy, at least a much slighter than a 

sufficient to give the general characteristics of his mind at that 
time. By the latter the reader might be disposed to suspect that 
something like an attempt was made to place this university 
prize on an eminence above other prize essays. 

E 2 


successful candidate for a prize essay in one of our 
universities would show, to suspect that he was likely 
to turn it into a defence of Epicurean principles in the 
common acceptation of that term. He calls himself 
an advocate of Epicurus, but it is in such sentences, 
and with such saving clauses, as these : " Recognos- 
cite vero, Academici, explicandas esse disciplinas, non 
defendendas; earum inter se conferendas utilitates, 
non ipsas collaudandas, esse sectas." " Quidnam 
vero causae potissimum esse dicam, cur cum in errores 
perniciosos inciderint ambo, alterius tamen ad coelos 
efferantur laudes, alterius fama parum meritis re- 
spondeat ?" " Hoc etenim, Epicure, concedendum 
tibi posco, non in epulis luxuque regio, sed in victu 
cultuque tenui; non in effusis omni intemperantia 
libidinibus, sed in sano corpore animoque tranquillo 
tuam te vitam posuisse beatam. Impietas quasdam 
suspecta gravissimas Epicuro notas inussit, quas qui- 
dem cum del ere aggrediar, absit ut alia mente id 
praestem quam veritatis gratia; neque enim si fuisset, 
qualis esse potuit, impius, ego is sum qui patrocinium 
ipsius mordicus suscipiam." After all, a great deal 
more of the essay is employed in drawing forward 
the errors of Stoicism, than in recording the honours 
or services of Epicurus. All he says in defence of 
his favourite is contained in the following sentence : 
" De Epicuro, cujus patrocinium suscepi, pauca jam 
attexam. Videamus ergo virum doctrinse castimonia 
vitaeque continentia clarum — videamus erga civitatem 
pium, erga Deos non impium. — Quern tamen iniquis- 


simis conviciis lacer&runt, laudandus non videatur. — 
Nollem vero rosetum exscindere, quod spinas non- 
nullas rosis ferat intextas — meminerimque semper Dei 
esse nil omnino peccavisse, paululum autem deliquisse 
pene hominis esse divini. Videamus postremo, Aca- 
demici, quam vana, quam nihil, omnia philosophorum 
de virtute erant documenta; de religione autem, cumin 
earn acrius aguntur hominum animi, ineptissime dis- 
putatum esse. Tandem vero Sol exortus est aethereus 
— tandem purior e coelo descendit disciplina. — Illuxit 
aliquando religio, cujus auctor est Deus, cujus ma- 
teria Veritas, cujus finis est felicitas. Religio ali- 
quando illuxit, quae Stoae paradoxon in principiis vere 
Epicureis fundari voluit. Sufficit ad felicitatem virtus, 
virtutis tamen finis est felicitas. Stabile denique 
quiddam est, quo pedem figamus; patetquenil veterem 
potuisse disciplinam, nil non perfecisse Christianum." 
And to show that he did not sink his integrity in 
casuistry or in the sportiveness of argument, he has 
added in a note at the end, " The intent of this in- 
quiry is not so much to defend the principles of either 
sect, as to prove the insufficiency of both. For 
neither the welfare of the public is promoted, nor the 
happiness of the individual secured by either. Their 
apprehensions of the nature of God, and of the ends 
of virtue, are both erroneous, and their errors are both 
attended with pernicious consequences. Zeno fell 
into the most fantastic superstitions, which whilst 
Epicurus corrected, he well nigh endangered reli- 
gion. The virtue of the one was visionary and ideal, 


that of the other, sordid and selfish. It was reserved 
for one greater than Zeno to exalt the dignity of 
virtue with its utility, and by superinducing a future 
state, to support the paradox of the Stoic on Epicu- 
rean principles.' * Still there seem sufficient grounds 
for remarking an obvious simplicity of thinking as 
well as writing even at so early an age, and whether 
the natural turn of his mind towards observation of 
the common modes of acting led him to entertain 
this subject, or the application of his mind to this 
subject influenced him to apply to morality, it is cer- 
tain that many sentiments may be recognised, as pro- 
ceeding from the same writer on morals and Chris- 
tianity. It may at least very fairly be observed, that 
in this his first attempt at bringing his reasoning 
powers into action, he succeeded in impressing his 
friends at the University with a notion of what they 
were to be. So far was it characteristic of his mind, 
that its notes contain some deep reasoning, very much 
in the manner of his more mature productions, and 
show at once much penetration and a fixed love for 
an independent way of thinking. " There is not 
perhaps a more effectual way of injuring the cause 
of virtue than by straining its duties too high. The 
bulk of mankind will easily persuade themselves that 
virtue, this ideal virtue, was never designed for ordi- 
nary practice, but to be confined to a few more ele- 
vated natures and sublimer views. Rousseau, that 
insidious enemy of Christianity, has objected to it, 
that it has greatly defeated its own end, by refining 


too much on moral duties, though this is unjustly 
urged against a religion which, whilst it elevates our 
natures, condescends to our infirmities, and is accom- 
modated to our weaknesses without flattering our cor- 
ruption ; yet it might with great propriety have been 
objected to the Stoics, who, whilst they would raise 
virtue above the reach of fortune, raised it above the 
reach of man, above that of all, save a few visionary 

Again. It is not for. the interest of virtue to 
teach men to expect more from it than it either can 
in this world, or was ever designed to perform. The 
disappointments men meet with will endanger their 
perseverance, and inclination will step in to persuade 
them, that what has thus deceived their hope is no- 
thing but the dream of the visionary, or imposition 
of the artful. 

" Ii extiterunt amici qui Atheismum adeo non 
destrure societatem censuerunt, ut amota Deorum 
cura et existere civitatem posse, et extitisse dixerint ; 
quorum sub vexillo militavit militatque adhuc versu- 
tissimus Gallorum scriptor, cujus sane ingenium lu- 
benter laudassem, ni optimum Deorum munus, re- 
ligionem, humano generi invidisset." After this 
follows a very long note in answer to Voltaire. 

" With respect to the general question, as an ex- 
ample of which Voltaire exhibits the later ages of 
Rome, when all who had any concern with the state 
renounced all belief either of the popular religion, or 
of any other — with respect to the general question, 


the truth of Cicero's observation has been often 
proved : * pietate adversus Deos sublata, fides etiam 
et societas humani generis, et una excellentissima 
virtus, justitia, tollitur.' With respect to the parti- 
cular assertion of Voltaire, let it be remembered that 
if Rome was an instance of such a state, it was an 
example how wretched such a state must be. I say 
how wretched, if instead of contemplating its con- 
quests and triumphs, we read the history of its civil 
calamities and domestic miseries. Again, let it be 
observed, that when Voltaire concludes that Rome 
subsisted without the aid of religion, he supposes 
either that the great bulk of the people were, like 
their superiors, infidels, or that it was indifferent to 
the state, whether those who carried on the admini- 
stration of it had any religion or no. The first sup- 
position, history contradicts; the second, reason and 
experience ; for though the great might be induced 
to serve their country by particular motives ; some by 
a due sense of the expediency of civil communities, 
and the utility of supporting them, others by a pas- 
sion for popular glory, the emulation of families, or 
pride of ancestry, and lastly many from principle 
might defeat the ambitious purposes of an aspiring 
rival ; though the great might be influenced by these 
principles, and by such as these, yet amongst the 
vulgar, where no such motives can subsist, it is clear 
(besides the use of religious impressions in discharging 
the private duties of life), that the superior physical 
strength they are possessed of would never be sub* 


jected to the laws and restraints of society, was there 
not added to the opinion of power in their superiors, 
an opinion also of right strengthened at least by re- 
ligious persuasion." 

In speaking of Zeno's prohibition of ceremonial 
worship, " Vereor ne aut omnem sustulerit religi- 
onem, aut perpaucis constituent idoneam. Cum enim 
ita natura simus comparati, ut ea sola, qua? in sensu 
incurrant, alte atque facile imprimantur in mentem — 
frigebit necessario religio, si ritu orbetur decoro, et 
pen& inter mortua flaccescit Pietas." 

On the rough immodesty and indecency of the 
cynical language, he says, " Haec autem verborum 
licentia, quam factorum quoque minuit verecundiam, 
qualesque libidini subjecit faces, satis profecto ratione 
constat — utinam, juventus academica, ne et experi- 
entia non esset compertum." 

On noticing the promiscuous concubinage of 
Zeno, he adds : " Solivagam scilicet naturam arctiiis 
interiusque concluserunt connubia; necessitudines 
affinitatesque secutae sunt \ ita sanguinis conjunctio et 
benevolentia, deinde civitati devincti homines civi- 
tatum urbiumque praesidia quaerebant. Et si aliquis 
sit mulierum delectus, aliquis ubivis amor, gravissima 
quoque humano generi insaaviret discordia. Quaenam 
porro infantiae tutela, quaenam juventutis esset edu- 
catio — ni aetas eorum imbecillitatis praesidium, in cura 
concilioque parentum habuisset — nullae quippe leges, 
nulli mores, eousque valere potuerunt, ut in parentibus 


de su& sobole incertis, omnique s-opy? vacuis, idoneam 
communis sobolis curam excitarent." 

In answer to the objection against Epicurus's prin- 
ciple of utility, " Si utilitate metiantur omnia, ab officio 
quis facile deflectet, si earn rem sibi quaestuosam fore 
putavit," he writes, " praeter timorem ne aliquando 
patefacta fuerint scelera,consuetudinemesse quandam, 
cui mens subjecta est humana, cujusque ea vis est, ut 
quam virtutem utilitatis causa aliquandiu sum'us pro- 
secuti, earn et prosequeremur, quanquam aut cesserit 
utilitas aut cessisse videatur :" and in a note to this 
he adds, " I have chosen to give this answer to the 
objection rather than Epicurus's own, drawn from the 
fears and apprehensions attending upon guilt ; first, 
because the mechanical influence of habit upon the 
human mind, so necessary to account for most of its 
operations, was a thing little understood by the an- 
cients, and secondly, because it furnishes an answer 
to a great part of Cicero's objection against Epicurus. 
He has collected a variety of instances wherein the 
devoted heroes of antiquity have sacrificed their in- 
terests and pleasure to their country's good, and from 
hence concludes, that they are acted upon by some 
higher principles than a regard to private utility, 
which consequently in these instances could not be 
the end of virtue. But it appears that these wor- 
thies, if they were led on by principles of virtue at 
all, and not rather by a passion for glory, might, 
notwithstanding, be influenced by a rational convic- 


tion, or implicit persuasion of its utility, habitually 
settled in the mind, though the advantage of this 
particular action was not for the present either seen 
or considered." This was written when the author 
was twenty-two years of age. Whether his attention, 
thus drawn to this peculiar view of moral science, 
might induce him afterwards to bring it forward in 
a more enlarged shape, or this little work as well as 
his Moral Philosophy had gradually contracted the 
same complexion from any habits of mind or thought 
in which he had previously indulged, it is not easy to 
determine ; but it is curious to find in so early a pro- 
duction an objection answered, which was afterwards 
dressed out in a more substantial form against his own 
doctrine of Expediency. It is but fair to say, that 
he had long been famous for the ingenious manner in 
which he supported a paradox, and on this essay one 
of his friends was in the habit of communicating an 
account which seems at once to clear it of all design, 
that he knew no one more ready or more able to sup- 
port a paradox, or say any thing on any side of any 
subject, than his friend Paley, except his eldest son. 
The Latinity of this essay, which seems to have 
been accounted for rather discreditably, and spoken 
of* rather slightly, it might be unnecessary to notice, 
as it satisfied the university. It cannot, however, be 
improper to maintain, on the authority of these quota- 
tions, that the style is not otherwise than classical, as 

* See Chalmers, Meadley, and Quarterly Review. 


far as it speaks for an imitation of, and acquaintance 
with, the best classics ; that as for " the parade of an- 
cient learning, " if that is meant to apply to the style, 
it is not so loaded as the preface to Bellendenus, if to 
the matter, we should be told how a writing on an- 
cient philosophy could well disdain ancient authority, 
even on points less connected with the subject than 
the general dress of its sentiments. It may be useful 
to adduce in this place, as a qualification to the opi- 
nion which has been entertained of his classical taste 
and attainments, the testimony of one whose cor- 
respondence is given in Appendix A. Meadley, second 
edition, — a man in every way capable of forming a 
solid opinion of classical attainments. On this very 
subject he says, " I had intended to give you a short 
sketch of Paley's talents as a classical scholar. It 
must suffice to assure you, as I very truly can (for in 
his own department a man may speak with some con- 
fidence), that wherever in his Horae Paulina? any cri- 
ticism on the Greek language is employed, his remarks, 
without ostentation, are eminently acute, vigorous, and 
just. Indeed all his knowledge seems to have been 
sound as far as it went, and though all his life he stu- 
died things more than words, yet he perfectly under- 
stood at the proper time how to turn an exact know- 
ledge of words to a very substantial account." Horace, 
Virgil, and Cicero, were even to the latest of his life 
his table books, and at a time when he could have no 
other occasion for them than as books of amusement. 
He was not, certainly, a deep classical scholar, nor did 


he think himself so. He was heard to say, when 
giving this essay and his Concio ad Clerum to one 
of his sons, at a time when he was labouring to infuse 
into him a nice distinction between the mere writing 
of Latin, and a classical habit of thinking in Latin, 
" These were the only two pieces of Latin composi- 
tion I ever made public, and I got into a sad scrape 
with my English notes." The surmises of one of the 
judges at the time, " that he supposed the author 
had been assisted by his father, some country clergy- 
man, who having forgotten his Latin had written the 
notes in English," were perfectly unfounded, for it 
was all his own. His own apology for English notes 
stands thus in the beginning of the essay : " The 
author of this dissertation begs he may be excused 
the liberty he has taken of subjoining to it a few 
notes ; for in a composition of this limited nature, 
though he hopes he has collected into it whatever is 
material to the argument, yet the observations must 
needs be very general, and it is well known what little 
weight general observations have, unless it be at the 
same time recollected by what authority they are 
attested, and by what instances supported. Rather, 
therefore, than prolong the dissertation or perplex 
the reasoning by a variety of references and quota- 
tions, he has chosen to annex them to their respective 
propositions in the form of notes. He has now and 
then hazarded a collateral observation, and hopes it 
will be excused, if he has done it in English. The 
propriety of this is, with respect, submitted to the 


learned reader/' (this, by the by, smacks of a fondness 
for authorship) "who will consider that no other use is 
designed to be made of them, than to confirm to the 
judges of this performance what he has advanced or 
observed in the body of his work." 

The motto annexed to the outside cover of the 
copy sent in to the vice-chancellor was most happily 
descriptive of his bustling yet good-humoured am- 

" Non jam prima peto, Mnestheu, neque vincere certo, 
Quanquam O ." 

The motto which is prefixed to the essay itself is, 

u Insani sapiens nomen ferat, sequus iniqui, 
Ultra quam satis est virtutem si petat ipsam." 

The only observation he made to his friends at home 
at the time of gaining the prize was, " that he verily 
believed another prize essay would have ruined 1™.'' 

As soon as he was of sufficient age, he was ordained 
to be assistant curate of Greenwich ; left Mr. Bracken 
about the same time, not, as has been stated, from any 
ill usage with respect to the distribution of money or 
presents, but from that gentleman's not mentioning 
to him a proposal which had been made in his behalf 
by a lady of Greenwich to place her son under his 
sole care, provided Mr. Bracken would set him at 
liberty from any engagement. This proposal was 
made known to Mr. Paley by some fortunate circum- 
stance, but not by Mr. Bracken; and as there was 
no stipulated engagement between them, his usher 


quickly determined to have nothing more to do with 

He often seemed to recollect this first setting out 
for himself in the cares of a householder and a cler- 
gyman, at the age of twenty-three, with great amuse- 
ment. His first pupil, for whom he ever after ex- 
pressed great affection, yet not more than was his 
pupil's regard for him, was of a delicate constitution, 
and had been nicely brought up. Mr. Paley had no 
place to receive him into but a house with a stone 
floor, and being too poor to comply immediately with 
his mother's request for a carpet, he good-humouredly 
and thriftily made him stand upon the bellows. The 
first fee he ever got for the performance of his clerical 
duties he recollec.ted with equal gratification, as it 
reminded him of his own simplicity. Being called 
upon by some great family to give private baptism to 
one of the children, he was presented with a slip of 
paper containing some piece of coin, which, to use his 
own words, he so pressed and fumbled about from 
an anxiety to know what it contained, that he had 
scarcely got out of the door when he ventured to 
peep ; but on so venturing, he turned his head towards 
the house, and saw the whole family laughing at the 
windows* He soon, however, took the rat-sickness, 
as he said, from the load of duty laid upon him as 
assistant curate ; for he reckoned that it was bad 
enough to be a simple rat, as was his cant term for 
curate, but to be the rat of rats, was as many degrees 
below a curate, as a deputy-sexton is below him. Not 


long after this time he was elected a fellow, and as soon 
as his favourite pupil, who had resided with him at 
Greenwich, was ready for college, he accompanied him 
thither, and commenced a residence in the university. 
Here he engaged in private tuition, still keeping his 
first attention fixed upon his companion and pupil. 
Shortly after his fixing in college, Dr. Shepherd, who 
had been long tutor, and on Dr. Backhouse's retire- 
ment, sole tutor for some time, and had lately been 
much engaged in forwarding Lord Sandwich's in- 
terest, as well as in other pursuits which called him 
much out of college, wished to have Mr. Law* for his 
assistant tutor in mathematics, and some little time 
after offered Mr. Paley his departments in natural 
law and in Locke f. 

They continued a little more than three years as 
sub-tutors to Dr. Shepherd, when finding that a con- 
scientious discharge of their duty, an eager interest 
in the improvement of their pupils, the confidence of 
their college in their abilities, and their own conscious- 
ness of superior talents wholly employed upon the 
one object of tuition, had the success generally attend- 
ing such qualifications both upon themselves and the 
university, they proposed to Dr. Shepherd that he 

* Afterwards Bishop of Elphin. 

-f- I am not certain that he lectured in Locke at all. In the 
Public Characters, to which allusion has already been made, it is 
stated that Law lectured on Locke, to which it is added in the 
margin, dele Locke. Of his lectures on Locke I never heard, nor 
were tjiey left among his papers with his other lectures. Ed. 


should admit them to a share in the tuition. After 
some struggle they obtained what they wanted, and 
what Law humorously called a trisection. Dr. 
Shepherd continued long after they both had left 
their situation in college ; but he is represented by an 
account # , which probably would have been corrected 
had it been inaccurate, to have been at that time a 
sort of sleeping partner. It is well known, however, 
that Law continued in the mathematical department, 
and Paley lectured on moral philosophy, each giving 
a lecture in the evenings — Law in classics, and Paley 
in the Greek Testament : not in addition, as is stated 
by Meadley, but as Dr. Backhouse had lectured in 
the Greek Testament and the classics before, Mr. 
Paley lectured in, and chose that branch of divinity, 
in which consists the practical part of a clergyman's 
duty. But the addition, if any, or as it might then 
be called, the innovation, was in fixing upon the even- 
ing for this lecture. It is curious that this choice of 
departments, which was more accidental than de- 
signed, or perhaps* more determined by the mutual 
indifference of both, than by any previous inclination 
to these studies, should have been the chief source 
from which the one derived his celebrity, and the 
other an amusement, even for life. Certain it is, that 
Paley often declared he would have taken either part. 
Indeed, his mind was not only capacious, but of that 
serviceable kind which is not uncommon. He could 

* Public Characters. 
VOL. I. F 


draw upon it for any occasion. He was more parti- 
cularly attached to that closeness, and precision, and 
keenness, and deep penetration, which are eminently 
called forth at the bar. He used to think himself 
formed for a lawyer, both from his fondness for 
such sort of pointed investigation as is required on 
cross-examination of witnesses, and his cleverness in 
weighing evidence. In the latter part of his life 
he has been heard to say, that he often amused a 
sleepless night by making speeches to answer those 
of Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, and other of the leading 
men in parliament, and he thought he got on very 

It might seem invidious # , not to say idle, to ground 
any singular fame upon the manner in which any 
department is filled in the university, and more 
especially when it is considered that the same office of 
tutor has been discharged to this day by many with 
answerable effects, though they be not much called 
forth into public notice. It is no less consistent with 
his own views through life than with his just estimate 
of the exertion of others, to prefer classing him with 
a crowd, rather than catch at fame or eminence by 
speaking of the manner in which he discharged his 

* Meadley has employed about sixty pages on Mr. Paley's 
university career. This rather speaks for a general want of in- 
cident in other stages of his life, than any want of discrimi- 
nation in Mr. Meadley j though a farther acquaintance with his 
subject might have enabled him to discern between what belonged 
to tbe individual, and what was partly owing to his situation. 


office ; neither did he himself seem inclined to lay any 
great stress upon his residence in the university as the 
happiest or most useful time of his life. He used in- 
deed to revert to his college life very frequently, as is 
not unusual with others, and was much pleased in 
marking it as the time of his acquaintance with literary 
men of his day. There are, nevertheless, one or two 
circumstances attendant on his situation worth no- 
ticing, as at this period of life his character seems to 
have assumed more settled features, and as he now 
first, at the age of thirty, laid the foundation of his 
future celebrity as well as fortune. • 

The first feeling of a man's way, and the being 
accounted for something in the dramatis personse of 
life, is undoubtedly gratifying, both at the first dis- 
covery and at the recollection of it ; and here probably 
he found himself, at the age of twenty-eight or twenty- 
nine, set on his feet more than at any other date. 
His former habits of life had not been much above a 
low condition, and his own sentiments were very far 
removed, then and afterwards, from any overweening 
views of his own importance. He was now called to 
comparative independence, and to an association and 
equality, both in public and private, with many of the 
first-rate abilities. He appears to have been much 
esteemed, and even looked up to amongst his literary 
as well as his private friends in the university. His 
acquaintance with the men of note about his stand- 
ing seems to have been large enough, though not 
remarkable. In a Cambridge calendar with which, 

F 2 


when it first appeared, he was much pleased, he 
marked all those with whom he had maintained any 
acquaintance, and his marks are very numerous. He 
was a member of the Hyson Club, which had been 
first formed by the wranglers of Dr. Thorpe's year, 
about five years before he took his degree ; and which 
was at that time celebrated in the university as con- 
taining among its members some of very shining 
talents, among whom are to be enumerated, Dr. 
Beadon, the late bishop of Gloucester, Dr. Tom- 
line, the present bishop of Winchester, Dr. Milner, 
the late dean of Carlisle, Dr. Waring, professor of 
mathematics, Mr. Vince, &c. It is well known that 
this system of clubbing has long prevailed in both of 
our universities ; and as well used for rubbing off any 
little asperities, or the stiffness of more severe studies, 
he made it an object, as will be seen, in almost every 
place where he afterwards resided, either to promote 
or join a sociable meeting of the kind. In this 
Hyson Club, however, he seems to have contributed 
largely to the general stock of brilliancy and merri- 
ment which generally attends the relaxation of power- 
ful minds, without at the same time entering into 
that sort of childishness which is sometimes affected 
for the sake of persuading others that the mind is un- 
bending from graver pursuits. His powers of afford- 
ing entertainment in general society were, it seems, 
at that time distinguished ; and he must be eminently 
possessed of a talent for adapting himself, and of ma- 
terials fit for being adapted to general use, who can 


preserve the same character with all parties in society 
during the course of a whole life. What is repre- 
sented of his detaining the Fellows' table by his wit 
and drollery till he had eaten his own dinner, and 
being the life and spirit of a combination-room, de- 
serves notice, not only as giving a strong mark of his 
mind at that time, but as continuing through stages 
of pain and sickness, when mere animal spirits must 
have failed. He had one excellence in a high degree 
in after-life, which even then he seems to have been 
possessed of, that of always being able to impress his 
company with some apophthegm or witticism that would 
bear repetition ; some stroke of wit on things of ordi- 
nary occurrence, which would be recollected as often 
as the same thing occurred : his family even at this 
time are seldom long in any company or society in 
places where he lived, without having occasion to 
trace him by means of such memoranda. With Dr. 
Waring, who, in his preface to Miscellanea Analytica, 
seems to have hit upon what was a great characteristic 
of his friend's mind " in veritatis investigatione in- 
genii maxime pollentis," he was more intimate than 
is generally represented. Of his goodness of heart, 
simplicity, genius, and learning, he coincides in opi- 
nion with the anonymous author in the Public Cha- 
racters ; but his manners and conversation he esti- 
mates much more highly. Dr. Waring indeed ap- 
pears, according to the testimony of one very little 
junior to Paley, to have been as eminently distin- 
guished by a general knowledge as by a characteristic 


simplicity of manners*. With Mr. (afterwards, on 
changing his profession from divinity to physic, Dr.) 
Jebb, he joined freely on subjects of scientific and 
speculative inquiry, and used often to talk over with 
an intimate friend in private, thirty years after, his 
pleasant intercourse with Jebb and Waring. But 
both these were his seniors. Though he esteemed 
them much, as possessed of independent and acute 
habits of thought, and rather looked up to them as 
pleasant and warm friends, there is but little reason 
to believe that he ranged himself on their side, or on 
any side, either in religion or politics. He read, 
and thought, and acted for himself on every occasion 
of his life. Of the warm-heartedness, indeed, and 
disinterestedness of his friendships, scarcely enough 
can be said, but much more than enough has been 
insinuated in various quarters, as to his heterodox 
principles and views, tending to innovation both in 
church and state, from his connexion with what is 
termed their " <party? Merely to hazard conjectures 
against a generally received opinion is but a hopeless 
undertaking, but in the absence of all facts which 
point out any more intimate admiration of the prin- 
ciples of any party, and with the possession of an ex- 
perience which plainly speaks the contrary, it may 
be fairly and fearlessly said, that he never in his life 

* Gilbert Wakefield. There are many marginal—" No— -No — 
unjust, foolish paragraph, I do not remember any such anec- 
dote," added to a story about Mr. Waring, inserted in the Public 
Characters. — Ed. 


was a party man. On all questions, he was the ad- 
vocate of liberal principles, and the most liberal dis- 
cussion, but he never went one step beyond the 
bounds of fair and candid conclusions, or of esta- 
blished order. What his biographer* says of him 
on this subject, viz. that he was of a liberal party in 
the university, is just as true of him at any other 
period of his life. He was more properly a liberal 
man of any party. He brought great interest and 
eagerness to any party, and advocated any set of 
arguments by which good was to be done, or truth 
forwarded ; but to say he was a secret advocate for 
ecclesiastical reform, or a political dabbler, from the 
circumstance of his having very slightly engaged in a 
question of the day which made considerable noise, 
or from having entered on a course of lecturing which 
involved all duties, moral and political, is to confound 
party with opinion, and to make every man a partisan 
who expresses his sentiments for or against any side 
of a question. It must be remembered that there 
was at that day, and perhaps is still, a certain aptitude 
in receiving, as well as readiness in affixing the name 
of parti/ to men of any public note, according as their 
cast of mind or their abilities seem favourable to a 
certain way of treating particular subjects. Yet they 
are not to be called liberal, either in spirit or in letter, 
though they are equally eager for the character of 
liberality. Gilbert Wakefield, who adds a good deal 

* Meadle^. 


to the weight of what might be called the liberal 
party at that time in the university, though by the 
selfishness and disappointed vanity which runs through 
his Memoirs, he gives occasion for doubting the purity 
of his motives on many occasions, says, " No man of 
any age, of any sect or denomination, has been so 
much a practical dissenter as myself, but as to party 
I will be of none, nor fight under any standard but 
that of truth and liberty." Yet this same was a re- 
viler of church establishments, at the same time that 
he was called by Dr. Priestley an enemy to dissenters. 
He acknowledges himself indeed an enemy to most 
of the dissenters of that day, but not to the cause ; 
and says, that ecclesiastical power in the hands of 
some of them would be a tyranny. One difference 
between these two, and probably many more of the 
same party, seems to have been, that Wakefield was 
not pleased with any party, and could not be ; for 
his maxim, of which he says he made an excellent 
use on numerous occasions, was " itavruv fc pakir aixvw 
cavTov" Mr. Paley was of every party, and friendly 
with men of all parties, but never exclusively attached 
to any. Wakefield's general account of this age of 
the university, and the questions at that time agitated, 
if they form a sort of right to his correcting " a mis- 
take of those censorious surmisers who had imagined 
him to have been brought over to the same party," 
may serve equally on this occasion. He says, " It is 
not improbable that the example of such respectable 
characters, occupied in the pursuit and the profession 


of religious truth, might apply a spur to the willing 
courser, as it certainly excited, with the publications 
then current, a variety of conversation and debate 
upon the controverted points in theology among the 
undergraduates. But the influence over my mind 
went no farther. I soon found the truth to lie upon 
the surface ; and was persuaded that a single eye of 
any acuteness, purged from those films of habitual 
acquiescence which are superinduced by the operations 
of timidity, or the suggestions of prudence, would 
never be a very long time in making the discovery, 
and then my constitutional frankness and intrepidity 
would instantly impel me to the practical profession 
of it." The only transaction of public interest in 
the university in which Mr. Paley is said to have been 
concerned with any thing like eagerness or interest, 
was one on which he published a pamphlet entitled a 
Defence of Considerations on the Propriety of re- 
quiring Subscription to the Articles of the Church 
of England*: his interest in this question seems to 
have arisen from his having already made it a sub- 
ject of attention in his lectures. But he appears, 
according to general opinion, to have engaged in it 
so far, as to answer an attack made upon Bishop 
Law, his friend's father. But on this, as a young 
performance, which was not made the vehicle for 
grave opinion, and which reflects more on the tone 
of his opponent than conveys any additional informa- 

* I have now by me authority enough to enable me to say de- 
cidedly that this pamphlet tvas the production of Mr. Paley. — Ed. 


tion or sentiment, it is not necessary to say much 
more. Indeed, it is probably as signal a proof of his 
dislike to party, and much more to the purpose to 
observe, that he has not left behind him any one 
hint, or any room for conjecture, how far he was 
concerned in it. It was made a subject of doubt, 
even during his life, whether it was his or not, and 
was admitted after his death into a volume almost 
foisted into public notice ; but he seems to have been 
still satisfied with his own silence, and might have 
been much more entertained with the random-shots 
that have been fired at him since, by its being found 
out, " that it contains great arrogance and contempt 
both for his predecessors and his contemporaries, who 
viewed the matter in a different light, and with much 
intemperate argument." We are farther told to 
judge* how far he was consistent with himself, by ap- 
pealing to his chapter on Subscription to the Articles 
of Religion ; but it ought not to be forgotten, that he 
was using the substance of this chapter in his lectures 
at the very time. On this subject, and the interest 
it excited, as well as the general character of Mr. 
Paley in the university, which may very fairly be 
drawn from him without suspicion of partiality, some- 
thing may be collected from the very equivocal bash- 
fulness exhibited so boldly and intemperately by the 
author here named, who was nearly contemporary. 
Without noticing any pamphlet of Mr. Paley's in 

* Wakefield's Memoirs. 


Defence of Considerations which incline to his own 
side of the question, he brings forward a difference 
of view on another part of the argument, and says, 
" I blush for him, I blush for the degradation of my 
species, when I see a man like Mr. Paley stain the 
pages of his incomparable book with such a shuffling 
chapter on subscription. He has amply gratified the 
most sanguine expectations raised in his friends by 
the extraordinary powers of his penetrating and com- 
prehensive understanding, and the glory of his aca- 
demical career ; but has he acted up in this instance 
to the general simplicity and honesty of his character ?" 
It will confirm what was said before, of the influence 
of a man's own views in determining him to or from 
the concerns of a party, if it be recollected that this dis- 
senting Wakefield denominates the articles a " blessed 
farrago of mere impertinence and absurdity," and 
therefore is not likely to bear patiently with any one 
who treats them reasonably; though such an one 
proves himself to be no advocate of ecclesiastical 
slavery, having wished to abolish them, as appears 
by the Defence of Considerations. The truth is, they 
are treated by Wakefield as matters that deserve 
but one opinion; by Paley, as points to call forth 
and fairly exercise a difference of opinion, though he 
is himself unfavourable to them. This certainly is 
no shuffling, at least not shuffling for honours. As 
to his not joining the petition*, and excusing it by 

* Meadley. 


saying that he was a coward, and that he could not 
afford to keep a conscience, or that he would come 
in with the next wave, or that he was inconsistent 
with himself in such expressions, is to give his mere 
sallies of wit and humour a more grave rebuke than 
such occasions seem to call for. These, like any 
.other expressions uttered with his constitutional 
vivacity, as is very justly observed, ought not to be 
too rigidly interpreted # . Those who knew him well 
can exactly measure the importance of them, and 
can say, that his character has been entirely misun- 
derstood, if from his being acquainted with men of 
great learning, and freedom of mind, and boldness in 
grappling with the mysteries of science, he has drawn 
upon himself an opinion of his being either a party 
man, or a partaker in most of the peculiar sentiments 
of his associates. For himself he would probably have 
recommended the old woman's recipe, which is given 
in the said Defence of Considerations, &c. " to leave 
off thinking for fear of thinking wrong." In the 
Biographical Dictionary, by Aikin, it is well ob- 
served from some periodical work, " that the Bishop 
of Carlisle's theological opinion fell greatly below the 
established standard of orthodoxy p. and Dr. Jebb's 
sentiments were equally obnoxious to the zealous 

* With Meadley, in spite of this good-natured salvo, Mr. 
Chalmers is much affronted, because he has not at once saved 
him from the imputation of great impropriety. His present 
biographer does not think that there is any occasion to apprehend 
the least danger, or feel the least affronted. 


friends of the church on the same account, though 
what were " his unwearied and intrepid exertions for 
promoting a reform in the university as well as in the 
church and state, by which he had incurred their 
odium," may be partly conjectured from what has 
just now been said. " The intimate friendship which 
subsisted between these learned men and Mr. Paley 
was received with a jealous eye by many who were 
closely attached to the established systems. Because 
he was a liberal thinker, it was suspected that he must 
be a latitudinarian ; and they were prepared to dis- 
cover dangerous tendencies in his moral and political 
speculations, if they should ever be given to the public/' 
That his opinion, as well as his general character as an 
author, met with a good deal of this premeditated, 
preconcerted plan of opposition, may be best left as a 
matter of uncertainty ; but it is a point quite beyond 
the power of any party to deny, that he seems not to 
have been at all affected by any such insinuations, so 
as to be induced to swerve, during a great part of his 
life, from an open and independent declaration of his 
sentiments; that he never in truth departed from that 
true balance of reason which is the best test of inde- 
pendence ; and that he supported all sides from the 
same, and only from the same motives, as he blamed, 
and ridiculed, and endeavoured to correct all sides. 
Neither, on the other hand, ought any farther anxiety 
to be shown about his adherence to party than may 
withdraw him from the stir and bustle necessarily at- 
tendant upon it; because he would not have been 


either afraid to avow, or ashamed to confess, that he 
admired the same liberality of view, the same bold- 
ness in pioneering amongst the entanglements of 
learning, and opening the approach to the true spirit 
of all institutions. As far as this might be consi- 
dered the design of the liberal party in the university, 
he would not be unlikely to engage in it with all his 
might; but though it might incline him to adopt 
some views at first, the tendency of which he neither 
saw nor looked for, it gave no twist to his mind at 
all sufficient to make him valuable to a party. It 
might lead him, indeed, not by any means to be " an 
overturner of churches, and spoiler of temples," but 
to take the obvious and first impressions of their use 
and abuse, to compare institutions and establishments 
as they exist, with the first intention of them, rather 
than to reason in favour of them, merely because they 
were existing institutions, or to follow them from 
their rise through the several steps of improvement. 
A young and ardent mind, little able, or at best not 
much inclined, to take hold of the chain on which 
many of our institutions and established forms de- 
pend, nor observing the links by which it is con- 
nected, each more polished than the last, might 
easily be tempted to join in any wish for reform or re- 
vision, from detecting some roughnesses and blunders. 
From his natural taste for rubbing off any artificial 
guise, together with a certain reluctance in courting 
discretion, he might have been led hastily, and, with 
his early impression, to a rashness in finding fault 


with what more matured deliberation would have in- 
duced him to allow for ; and so he might be more 
than partially involved in any public charge of he- 
terodoxy, or at least a suspicion of being bent on in- 
novation of some kind. But we may easily imagine 
that he scarcely supposed himself able to hold a 
decided opinion on matters of grave doctrine or 
political sentiment, or to stand forth as the advocate, 
and much less the champion of any party, since 
neither the complexion of his mind, nor the general 
temperament of his after-life, was at all worse for it. 
It was certainly not tinctured with any decided op- 
position either to church or state, nor does he seem 
to have been prevented from balancing between the 
advantages and disadvantages, the probability and im- 
probability, of many points, which in later periods of 
his life came to him under a more important character. 
In the estimation of all parties in the university, 
he seems to have been singularly honest, and strictly 
upright ; a strong-minded, substantial, yet discrimi- 
nating reasoner ; a stanch advocate for discipline ; 
liberal, modest, and independent ; decisive, but not 
determined against improvement in his sentiments 
on subjects of religion and morality; wise enough 
to discriminate between a passionate and a rational 
prosecution of his object, yet always holding that 
object to be a bold and manly discharge of his duty*. 

* For these characteristics I am much indebted to the stories 
so aptly brought forward by Meadley, to the communication of 


He was associated, too, more in sentiment than by any 
strenuous exertion in discussing, if not improving 
the system of education then in the university ; but 
he never took any office but that of taxor, nor did 
he assume much authority in his college, except on 
points to which the substantial aims of discipline 
might be directed. He did not tease with demand- 
ing any little observances, nor did he easily yield to 
any requisition for licence and relaxation on substan- 
tial points. In conjunction with a man of very con- 
genial views, and with the same grasp of mind, he 
was able at once to enter upon such a course of 
steady, and, as it is well termed *, old-fashioned dis- 
cipline, as to leave on the minds of some of his pupils 
a lasting personal respect for himself, and in others, 
though at the time unwilling to submit, a fear and 
reverence, which never afterwards seemed to dimi- 
nish, or appear ridiculous to themselves. He opposed, 
along with his fellow-tutor, Law, the grant of the 
college-hall to Lord Sandwich, who was strongly fa- 
voured and supported by Dr. Shepherd. This gen- 
tleman was probably too much interested in his 
lordship's behalf to be very scrupulous on that occa- 

many of his acquaintance, to my own conclusions, from throwing 
together many recollections, and to the general estimation which 
appears to have been attached to his memory. Nor can I give any 
authority for gainsaying it, except one that I do not choose to 
follow — Hazlitt, that literary Thersites, who appears little ac- 
quainted with the character he so unsparingly bespatters. Ed. 
* Quarterly Review, vol. 9» 


sion, till it was suggested to him by the other tutors, 
that it would be so much for the interests of good 
order and ^discipline to oppose the unconditional 
grant of it, that they were resolved to stand firm 
against the whole proceeding, unless the offensive 
part of it was removed. Dr. Shepherd upon this 
claimed a promise from Lord Sandwich, that nothing 
but what was consistent with college discipline and 
strict propriety should take place, and they withdrew 
all opposition. There was no squabble of party in 
this, nor was Mr. Paley at all concerned in the con- 
test between Lords Hardwicke and Sandwich. 

The offer to go into Poland to superintend the 
education of Prince Poniatowski's relative, the young 
Prince Czartorinski, was communicated to his friends 
at home; and though he showed no disinclination 
to the scheme, yet the reluctance which his mother 
showed was so much stronger than any wish expressed 
by his father, who thought it a very advantageous 
offer for his son, that he declined it. 

The offer which is said to have been made to him 
by Lord Camden's friends, of becoming his lordship's 
private tutor, but to have been declined on account 
of his engagements, was never actually brought to 
his option, though it was talked of; so that he missed 
nothing by that. 

Of his lectures, in addition to what has been so 
well and fully given *, it may be said, that there was 

* Meadley. 
VOL. I. G 


little of the popery of education, as it is called, — 
little of precomposed forms of lectures. His plan, 
as far as he was sensible of plan, seems to have been 
to teach his pupils to think for themselves. He 
entered upon his subject not with a view of polishing 
what was known, but of teaching others to find out 
what was unknown, by observing the steps by which 
he had discovered it. As he seems to have em- 
ployed much of that part of life, in which he first 
began to think and act for himself, in giving in- 
struction, it may readily be conceived, that the habit 
of communicating it would continue long after his 
lectures were past. Accordingly we shall presently 
find him employing the same mode of instruction in 
his family which he used at college, and it was cha- 
racteristic enough of his powers to deserve mention 
by itself. Of his lectures on the Greek Testament, 
which some of his biographers have unfortunately 
praised " for being free from sectarian disputes," and 
in which he is said to have recommended his pupils 
" rather to listen to God than to man," there seems 
no authority whatever for speaking in this language, 
as his Greek Testament, from which he lectured, 
which is even yet to be found, is chiefly filled with 
notes critical and explanatory, in the manner adopted 
since by Elsley. These explanations are taken prin- 
cipally from Bowyer's Conjectures on the New Tes- 
tament, which came out just at that time, and are 
very consistent with the design he proposed to him- 
self, as appears by the first page of his Lecture Book : 


" Points to be explained — Heb. phraseology — ways 
of reasoning — accommodation of prophecies — proverbs 
—explanation of customs." Of his other lectures, 
some notice will be taken when we come to that part 
of his life in which he sent out his works. 

Of his private friendships during this period, it 
might not be necessary to say more than that he 
seemed naturally disposed to prefer private friendship 
to public notoriety at all times. So much, however, 
of his future fortune, as well as the exercise of his 
abilities, depended upon an intimacy formed at this 
time, and so strongly does the character of his more 
intimate friends prove how little he thought of be- 
longing to any party in religion or politics, that all 
mention of them cannot well be omitted. Dr. John 
Law, Bishop of Elphin ; the Rev. Wm. Sheepshanks, 
Fellow of St. John's ; Lord Ellenborough ; the Rev. 
Dr. Ord, of Bury, who was at that time his pupil, 
were four friends with whom he used to spend much, 
not only of his leisure time, but of his retirement, 
for more literary and serious conversation. Few 
evenings during their residence in the university 
passed without their visiting at one another's rooms. 
With these he kept up a constant correspondence 
and intercourse during the remainder of his life. The 
Rev. Edward Wilson, who was Mr. Pitt's early tutor, 
whose rise is said to have been limited, by some doubts 
of his orthodoxy, to a canonry of Windsor and rec- 
tory of Burfield, seems to have been a much valued 
friend; the Rev. Wm. Stoddart, of Ashfordin Kent 5 

g 2 


Mr. Hall, master of the free-school at Grantham 
in Lincolnshire ; the Rev. Mr. Wilson, of Moulton 
in Suffolk ; and Mr. Mapletoft, of Anstye near Bunt- 
ingford, seem to have been in habits of very friendly 
intercourse with him, and were often mentioned by 
him to his family with great pleasure. , His con- 
nexion too with Mr. Unwin ought to be recorded, as 
agreeing so well with his strong inclination for piety 
and religious conversation, for their intimacy was 
very great, and their conversation the most unre- 
strained on religious subjects. Though they differed 
materially on some of their views, yet did not this 
difference prevent a perfect and friendly interchange 
of sentiments on this subject, nor indeed does it ap- 
pear to have assumed any other than the character of 
a religious friendship. Once afterwards at least he 
had the gratification of seeing his old friend at 
Dalston; at which time Mr. Unwin introduced his 
friend Cowper to him, and seemed anxious that they 
should be on the same footing as himself; but this 
intimacy never got forward; nor is there any recol- 
lection in Dr. Paley's family of his opinion or corre- 
spondence with either of them, except that on read- 
ing Hayley's Cowper, he observed, that " he had 
given Cowper a black cat, and he wondered that he 
had not mentioned that amongst other important 
matters/' Of his epistolary correspondence, the want 
pf which is much regretted # , as well in this as in 

* Meadley. 


other passages of his life, enough perhaps will appear 
in the sequel of our sketch to make the omission less 

His private friends, some of whom still survive 
him, seem to value his memory, as that of one who 
was benevolent, candid, affable, lively, and sprightly, 
ready to assist at all times, and ready to communicate 
whatever he thought, or whatever he knew, with a 
perfect unconsciousness of his own superiority, or the 
least suspicion of his own importance ; and with such 
peculiar buoyancy of spirit, that they at once saw he 
was not only interested in what he Was about, but 
cared not a rush for his own trouble or inconvenience. 

In order to carry our account forward to a more 
mature stage, it will be necessary shortly to revert to 
his intimacy with Dr. Law, Bishop of Carlisle. Law 
and Paley had been acquainted while undergraduates, 
but their acquaintance did not approach to intimacy 
till after Paley had taken his degree, and so much 
did it grow upon both of them by a habit of occa- 
sional intercourse during their joint tuition, that its 
closeness was only to be equalled by its duration. 
There existed between them a singular union of 
steady and rooted principle, perfect singleness and 
integrity of heart, congenial powers of mind, and 
great warmth of feeling ; yet these qualities were as 
singularly contrasted by a different application of 
them almost through life, by different pursuits, and 
even different inclinations and tempers. Yet so true 
and stedfast was their friendship, that though thrown 


into different parts of the world, there was both a 
constant interchange of letters and personal inter- 
course between them for thirty years, and their move- 
ments and enjoyments whilst in the university, as 
well as in later life, seem to have been regulated 
with reference to each other. They made frequent 
excursions together during the vacation to Giggles- 
wick and other places. They usually travelled in a 
gig, and as if resolved to make a vacation of it, in 
every sense of the word, they added much to the 
pleasantry of their friends at home, and in college, 
by relating the ludicrous scenes in which they con- 
trived to engage. As all, even the most humorous 
stories of his had point, it may perhaps serve to show 
the kind of incidents which then and ever after formed 
the chief food of his observation and amusement, if 
it be related that it fell to Mr. Law's share to sup- 
port the dignity of the party with a servant and a 
gig, to which Mr. Paley added a horse, kept solely 
for that purpose. This horse was no very comely 
beast, and their servant was jealous for the character 
of the whole party. He therefore stitched a fine 
flowing tail to the harness, and used to surprise his 
masters on their arrival at an inn, by bringing with 
great importance the horse's tail into their room 
along with their luggage. It was in one of these 
excursions to Bath, that Mr. Wilkes, who occupied 
an adjoining room at the York Hotel, politely intro- 
duced himself one morning, and spent an hour with 
them. When at Giggleswick, Mr. Paley amused 


himself with fishing, while his companion scrambled 
over hills and stone walls, in which that country 
abounds, in search of amusement. An old man of 
the village, who accompanied Mr. Paley in fishing, 
was the only person, he used to say, who gave him 
a true view of the folly of affected condescension, 
" arcta decet sanum comitem toga ;" for, on being 
asked to ride with Mr. Paley in his gig, which was 
intended to gratify the old man — " Nay," said he, 
" I'd as well walk beside you, for if you wouldn't 
shame with me in Settle, I should with you." Some 
letters which remain among Dr. Paley's papers and 
manuscript works mark very clearly the depth of 
affection and interest ; and it is under a conviction 
that familiarity between friends ought to be sacred, 
that the present writer restrains himself from giving 
more extracts in this place. Let one suffice, which 
speaks not only to the point now meant to be re*- 
corded, but to the general character and cast of mind 
of the Bishop of Elphin*. In the Irish rebellion, 

* It may serve to show further the great strength of mind and 
firmness of spirit which this eminent man possessed under the 
dangers of his country, if we give an extract from a letter written 
by Dr. Paley about this time to some of his friends. w The 
Bishop of Elphin has raised a corps of forty, which he commands 
himself, and does regular duty. The archdeacon is his captain. 
They were all picked men. One nevertheless has been taken up 
and hanged. His friends want him to live in England on a few 
hundreds a year in preference to that. Carlisle is full of Irish 
emigrants. A gentleman received a letter that all his servants 
were concerned and sworn j he had no suspicion of any of them 


after describing some of the alarms to which they 
were constantly exposed — " The next thing you hear 
may be that I am knocked on the head, when you 
will lose a friend who never directed an action against 
your happiness or a word against your reputation 
during his life." This intimacy led to an intro- 
duction to Mr. Law's father, who was, according to 
Mr. Paley's own words, " his first and best patron # ." 
The master of Peter House is unjustly aspersed, as 
having been promoted to the bishopric of Carlisle, 
and as having obtained some former pieces of pre- 
ferment from an improper adherence to the Dukes of 
Newcastle and Grafton. These aspersions are en- 
tirely unfounded, as appears both by the Life, pub- 
lished by Mr. Paley, and what is more to our present 
purpose, by some manuscript notes left in his hand- 
writing, clearly proving it impossible from some cir- 
cumstances attending his promotion. The bishop 
had selected his son's friend for his chaplain on his 
occasional visit to his diocese, and was soon enabled 
to provide for his son in such a way, that after about 

till the night he set off 5 his butler entertained three hundred 
rebels at his house. A young gentleman taken up at the coffee- 
house here in women's clothes, his father fighting for the king ; 
his uncle a rebel, and just hanged." 

* Dr. Watson, Bishop of Llandaff, observes in his life, that 
Dr. Law, the master of Peter House, was one of the best meta- 
physicians of his time. " From my friendship with that excellent 
man, I derived much knowledge and liberality of sentiment in 
theology j and I shall ever continue to think of my early intimacy 
with 'him as a fortunate event in my life." 


five or six years residence in college, he quitted it, to 
reside in his prebendal house at Carlisle. The fol- 
lowing year his friend Paley was presented by the 
bishop to the rectory of Musgrave in Westmoreland, 
and soon after left his situation at college to under- 
take the charge of a country parish in a neighbour- 
hood with which he had no connexion. He had 
discharged the office of tutor, as he says himself in 
his preface to the Moral Philosophy, about nine 
years. It was certainly no small surprise to some of 
his friends that he should leave engagements, which 
were at that time very lucrative, for a living of £80 
a year : but it may well be supposed, that to a man 
of his powers of mind and habits of deep reflection, 
this was much less a consideration than his views of 
usefulness in the discharge of the more active clerical 
duties. His conviction, that though he was filling 
an important and useful station, yet it was not so 
congenial to his own elastic and energetic mind, as 
to seem worthy of terminating his prospects — the 
superior pleasures of an active and diversified life — 
the feeling of " spatiis obstantia claustra," — the desire 
of being at liberty to indulge a fondness for contem- 
plative observation, and for studying man more than 
books, — all might influence him in choosing the life 
of a country clergyman. This indeed can only be 
conjecture, as much of what is here observed must 
necessarily rest upon conjecture -, but it is at least 
fair, that what consists with his character in his best 
days, and with what was allowed to be a distinguish- 
ing trait in that character, should have more weight 


than any random conjecture that he had the pro- 
mise of further provision from his patron, or any 
prospect of it built upon his connexion with Mr. Law. 
Indeed this is contradicted by himself in a marginal 
note on the Life already alluded to. He had always 
declared to his friends in college his design of 
leaving it as soon as he could, and seemed to his 
friends particularly fond of expatiating upon the 
pleasures of the frugal life of a country clergyman. 
Prospects he must undoubtedly have had, but they 
were the prospects of a man who was always inclined 
to believe that diligence, exertion, ability, and a re- 
gular discharge of an important duty, never were long 
without an adequate provision. 

He brought to his new situation a mind disposed 
to be happy in its own resources, a good flow of 
spirits, a natural as well as habitual cheerfulness, 
great fondness for intercourse with its neighbours, 
and a strong inclination to make the most of his 
power of observation and penetration, by applying 
them to the purposes of religion and morality. These 
interests, the preservation of which was certainly the 
prevailing and paramount aim of his life, would not 
necessarily require mention, but that they were so 
deeply fixed as to have been a special and distinctive 
mark of his character, both grave and gay, both in 
his serious and his trifling moments, during the course 
of his life. 

He never lived at Musgrave, nor had he any thing 
to do with farming or husbandry while he continued 
in that neighbourhood ; but having been at Carlisle 


with Mr. Law during the former year on his induc- 
tion to Musgrave, he was suddenly struck with the 
beauty of Miss Hewitt, and after holding a short 
consultation with his friend, and not a much longer 
one with the lady, he, in the following spring, left 
college, and returning to Carlisle, married her. It 
was not a match of interest. She was the daughter 
of a spirit merchant at Carlisle, and though con- 
nected with the corporation and some of the first 
class of society in that city, she added much more 
afterwards, both to his comfort and his fortune, than 
he either expected or inquired after at the time. 
Sensible, but mild and unassuming, of retired habits, 
of a sweet and negative disposition, but inactive from 
ill health, and, as she used to call herself, a mere 
thread-paper wife, she both sufficiently accorded, and 
was sufficiently contrasted with the ardent temper, 
active and positive character of her husband, and 
therefore readily joined in his wish and inclination 
for the character of a country clergyman. 

From this point, therefore, he is to be considered 
in a new and more perfect state, — in his public capa- 
city as a preacher and an author, in his private cha- 
racter as a family man, and an individual possessing 
great power and influence in his circle, chiefly by his 
worth and integrity, and singleness, and the con- 
sistency of his life, his natural turn for benevolence, 
an active freedom from all sorts of partiality and pre- 
judice in his rules of acting, and a close observation 
of the minute points of station in society, and a nice 


distinction between the use and abuse of matters com- 
paratively indifferent. In these will be found to con- 
sist most of what characterises him as an individual. 
Of his private life during this period not much can 
be given which may be made of public interest, ex- 
cept by observing, that he seemed now first to adopt 
the same methodical habits which continued with him 
during his life. His love of quiet, indeed, if not of 
retirement, yet of that degree of communication with 
society, which should leave him leisure enough for 
study and contemplation, were very strong even in 
this new state of his life ; and living in the small 
country town of Appleby, which was at a short 
distance from the village of Musgrave, where there 
was an agreeable, and to him valuable society, he 
passed his time usefully and satisfactorily. He had 
enough of society, enough of amusement, and enough 
of study. He soon either joined or promoted one 
of his Hyson clubs, where, for two hours in an even- 
ing, a few friends used to meet, spend sixpence, play 
a* rubber at whist for threepence, and find entertain- 
ment and communicate information, without either 
quarrelling or abuse, in talking over the affairs of the 
neighbourhood ; and here he used to boast of having 
added greatly to his stock of practical knowledge in 
the common concerns of life *. He had fishing to 
his heart's content -, for, situated on the banks of 

* Non de villis domibusve alienis, 

sed quod niagis ad nos 

Pertinet, et nescire malum est, agitamus. Hon. 


the Eden, in one of the most delightful vales of 
Westmoreland, Appleby is quite the place for a fisher, 
who enters into the spirit of the sport, and loves the 
amusement of whipping the stream more than catch- 
ing the fish. It might be probably from his eager- 
ness for this amusement whilst at Appleby *, that Mr. 
Law struck out his intention of having his picture 
taken in his fishing trim ; but it was not carried into 
execution till some time after, when Dr. Law was 
advanced to an Irish bishopric. To say nothing of 
the preposterous figure of a fisherman in a buzz wig 
and an archdeacon's hat, which was scarcely worn on 
state occasions, it is probable that neither Romney 
who painted it, nor Dr. Law who insisted on having 
it painted in that guise, knew much of fishing, or 
recollected how little that very peculiar kind of pike 
fishing would be recognised on canvas even by fisher- 
men ; and if it was so designed in order to catch the 
beaming expression of his countenance, as may be 
very obviously conjectured from the sort of coun- 
tenance which belonged almost exclusively to him, it 
would have been equally consistent with his mind, 
and more so with good taste, to have made him in- 
tent on any other subject of contemplation, since 
there were many at that time as congenial to him. 
It was thought so good a painting, that when Dr. 
Law, then Bishop of Clonfert, called on Romney to 
pay him the stipulated price, the painter took up his 

* Meadley has mentioned this incorrectly. 


£50 with great dissatisfaction, at the same time ob- 
serving, he had been offered twice as much for it. 

The society of Appleby was made more agreeable 
to him by its offering to him an acquaintance with 
Mr. Yates, who was at that time master of the 
grammar-school in that place, and quite a Busby of the 
north. Though before that time it was a school of 
no mean repute, as having prepared along with St. 
Bees men of that and the adjoining county for the 
old foundation of Queen's College, Oxford, yet it 
was indebted to Mr. Yates for much of its celebrity, 
which at that time was very great, and since that 
time has not diminished. By his long and close at- 
tention to the spirit as well as technical part of his 
office, and by superior penetration and attainments 
he brought with him, he was concerned in the in- 
terest and improvement of most of the first families 
in the country. Mr. Paley was much junior to Mr. 
Yates, who at that time was advanced in years, but 
they soon discovered and valued in each other, as 
might be expected in a provincial town, where such 
discoveries are not often made, the same fondness 
for literary and intellectual pursuits, and quickly 
entered into habits of unconstrained conversation. 
Mr. Paley, brought up to think a schoolmaster's the 
first of all employments, was glad to find so much 
affability, good humour, and cheerfulness, united to 
great taste and intellect *. There was besides a great 

* Whilst I am upon this subject, I cannot help mentioning 
that Mr a Yates translated almost the whole of the first volume of 


similarity in their ways of thinking, and in the degree 
of importance they both attached to the manners and 
morals of those that depended upon them ; they both 
paid more particular attention to those little steps by 
which immorality makes a gradual progress, and were 
unwilling to overlook trifles. Many a cheerful hour 
was passed in each other's society. Mr. Yates used 
to desire Mr. Paley's company in an evening to sit 
with him, when the messenger was sent back to say 
he was busy knitting. Another message was sent to 
desire he would bring his knitting with him, when Mr. 
Paley would good-humouredly put it in his pocket 
and exhibit it, to show that he was in truth knitting 
a stocking for his first child. All these circumstances 
were recollected, when he called this, as he has often 
been heard to call it, the happiest time of his life. 

It may be necessary to observe, as he is now in 
a way to be considered in his proper character 
as a divine, and particularly and distinctively as a 
writer and preacher of Sermons, that of all other 
departments of his life, the least stress has been laid 
upon that ordinary class of duties, the performance 
of which he considered the most important — that he 
never before assumed or pretended to the full dis- 
charge of the duties of a country clergyman — that 
from this time the composing and delivery of sermons 
was made a principal business, and was a duty in 

the Spectator into Latin, as elegant and classical as the English of 
Addison j and was famous at eighty for the spirit and tone with 
which he read the plays of Shakspeare. — Ed. 


which he both liked and was most able to display his 
great powers of mind — that the sermons which were 
now composed will appear to be of more importance 
in the sequel than is generally understood — and that 
from this period to the end of his life this work never 
seems to have lost its interest in the least, nor to have 
assumed a different cast or management. It is said 
indeed by those who perhaps knew him best, that his 
early productions in this way were verbose and florid, 
meaning by his early productions those at Greenwich 
and during the residence in the university ; and by 
verbose and florid, of a cast different from his later 
productions *. The authority for so saying is de- 
rived from too good a source to be disputed by those 
who have not a better ; and there are at this day 
very few remaining in manuscript of that period. 
Those that do remain indeed are not so free from an 
affectation of style and common-place sentiments as 
those of his later life, though by no means unlike the 
style of the notes to his Essay, which is at once 
manly and scholar-like. It is not, in short, unfair to 
presume, that he might in his younger days be car- 
ried away by the passion for display which attaches 

* These observations upon the style and manner of his ser- 
mons are not indeed so much applied to the period now spoken 
of -, but they are nevertheless applicable, both because the cha- 
racter of them i£ marked from this time, and most of those dated 
at this period continued, with small alterations, to be occasionally 
preached at other places ; so that what will suit one period of 
his life, may easily suit another in that respect.— Ed. 


to most young writers, as well as by a notion of 
adapting them more readily to a congregation used, 
as his then opinion might be of the people at Green- 
wich, to a higher style of preaching than mere country 
congregations. They are many of them full of high- 
flown apostrophes, and what he would have been in- 
clined perhaps to call little elegancies of composition, 
which show the writer of them not to have been with- 
out taste and feeling, but scarcely bespeak great 
powers of reasoning. Thus in one of these earlier 
productions of his, one of those at least which show 
their age by their torn and tattered condition, and 
the firm kind of hand-writing ; upon the text, " The 
days of our age are threescore years and ten," are to 
be found the following passages, which do not bear 
the stamp of his mind, though they may of his feelings 
in an earlier age, when the poetical fervour of such 
writers as Watts or Hervey, or the eccentric effusions 
of Sterne, are often substituted for more rational piety. 
" Do you but look upon yourself as dying daily, 
and hasting to the grave, — do you in your most 
serious meditations often represent to yourself your 
own frail, languishing, consumptive condition, and the 
swift approaches that death is still making towards 
you, every day bringing you nearer and nearer to 
your long home, — and you will find that nothing could 
have been more effectual to humble your pride than 
this will be. Stoop down and look into the grave 
and see how your head must shortly be laid there, 

VOL. I. h 


and you will see little reason to be lifted up with any 

Again, " Thirdly, the effectual and constant sense 
of our frailty will quicken us to provide for death and 
for another world. He can scarce avoid this, who 
ever looks upon himself as a dying man. Can any 
one be so hardy as to think of launching forth into 
the other world, of entering upon eternity, before he 
hath made his peace with God by a conquest over his 
evil habits, obtained an interest in Christ by prac- 
tising his laws, and some comfortable evidences of the 
forgiveness of his sins ? The serious apprehensions 
of death will, if any thing will do it, awaken his con- 
science, rouse up his drowsy soul, and make him 
seriously thoughtful and solicitous about his eternal 
concernments. One great cause of the deep slumber 
and desperate carnal security of most men, — of this 
wretched neglect of the salvation which Christ in his 
Gospel offers, and of putting off from day to day the 
one great business of making their peace with God, 
and securing the welfare of their immortal souls — 
of all this the principal cause is, that they put far 
from them the evil day, and either think not upon 
death at all, or think of it at a great distance." A 
sermon upon the crucifixion, the burden of which is, 
to set on a broader basis of reason and common sense 
the doctrine of atonement, has the following begin- 
ning and conclusion, which if they be original, be- 
speak a more ranting strain of preaching than he 


usually indulged in : — " Who is this that cometh with 
dyed garments from Bozrah — who is this that cometh 
from Edom ? He that beareth our griefs and car- 
rieth our sorrows — that was wounded for our trans- 
gressions and bruised for our iniquities ; that ap- 
peaseth the vengeance of an incensed God and taketh 
away the sin of a condemned world. Sacrifice and 
burnt offering thou wouldst no longer have — then 
said I, lo, I come to preach the glad tidings of sal- 
vation and seal them with my blood. I come to lay 
down my life a ransom for many, and offer myself 
an oblation for the sin of the whole world. It was 
not enough that the Son of God should take upon 
him our nature, but that he should share our suffer- 
ings too. — It was not enough that he should be born 
to teach, but that he should die to redeem his people 
— it was not enough that he should die, but that he 
should give himself to the death of the cross. Well 
might all nature sympathize with her expiring Lord 
— well might darkness overspread the land, and the 
veil of the temple be rent in twain. The sun saw this 
and fled, the earth quaked for fear. What aileth 
thee, O thou sun, that thou fleddest, and thou earth, 
that thou quakest for fear ? The Lord of life en- 
dureth death — he who could have summoned the 
host of heaven to his aid yielded up his soul an of- 
fering for sin, and boweth his sacred head upon the 
cross. This, my brethren, is the great mystery of 
godliness — this the amazing spectacle of mercy, which 
the return of this season invites us to." Towards 

h 2 


the conclusion of the same — " 111 fated Jews, well 
might our Saviour say, thou knewest not what thou 
didst when thou crownedst with thorns the King of 
Heaven — thou knewest not when thou inflictedst 
those stripes by which thou thyself wast healed— thou 
knewest not when thou laidst the cross upon him, 
who bore it for thy sake— thou knewest not that it 
was his death, which was to give light and immor- 
tality to thee that piercedst his side — when thou 
shouldst behold again thy Saviour and thy judge." 

Be these sermons whose or what they may, the 
only effusion to be found at all like them is one of 
a much later date, and written in a fair hand, in 
which amongst much rather common-place matter, 
on the Christian's hopes, with a text from Heb. ii. 
15, " And deliver them who through fear of death 
were all their lifetime subject to bondage •" is the 
following passage, which is given as a specimen of his 
attempts at pulpit eloquence ; for if this sermon be 
not his own, it was certainly preached. — " How for 
example was it with the Apostles, with the primitive 
converts of the religion, which yet is the same re- 
ligion, and still offers the same hopes ? When we 
see the first followers of the faith of Christ relinquish 
their pleasures and renounce their indulgences, ex- 
changing a life of sensuality and voluptuousness, for 
abstinence, mortification, and self-denial, ease and 
security for pain and danger — when we see this, 
we see the power of Christianity to lift the human 
soul above the world in which we live : but when we 


see those disciples of a crucified Lord, following their 
Master through sufferings and death, when we see 
them set at defiance the most cruel tortures that bar- 
barity could exercise or ingenuity contrive ; lingering 
in the agonies of death, yet saluting their destiny 
with songs of triumph, and breathing out their souls 
in thanksgivings to God, who had accounted them 
worthy to be partakers of the sufferings of Christ ; 
from this spectacle we learn what faith can do. O 
faith ! thou guardian of a Christian's virtue, thou 
source and fountain of all his joys, thou balm that 
healest the ills of life — thou beam that lightest us 
through the vales of death — by thee we quench the 
darts of Satan — by thee we surmount the terrors of 
the grave — by faith with confidence we have access 
to God. If then these persecuted champions of the 
Christian faith not only supported death with for- 
titude when unavoidable, but submitted to a volun- 
tary martyrdom ; shall we find the same faith unable 
to sustain our fortitude in the hour of quiet and 
natural decease ? They met a violent and untimely 
fate, inflicted by incensed and barbarous enemies ; 
we expect our departure, when God in his own good 
time shall command us to pass through a peaceable 
change to a better existence. They wrestled with 
the waves on splinters of the wreck — we sail on to 
the shore on beams of cedar." He himself says in 
one of his charges, " that in most men genius is ripe 
before judgment. It opens with the bloom of youth, 
and sometimes does not survive it. On the contrary, 


the judgment seldom attains its maturity till much 
later. Being in a great measure the fruit of expe- 
rience, it is of slow growth, and is in a state perhaps 
of constant progress at best, so long as the powers of 
the understanding remain entire. He therefore who 
addresses himself to any species of composition in the 
earlier part of his life, comes to it with the advantage 
of a fertile and glowing imagination, but often with 
great imbecility or unsoundness of judgement. Any 
man who recollects his early compositions will be 
sensible of this." This florid style, however, is to be 
received as so far from the usual character of his com- 
positions, that it rather leads to the conclusion, either 
that he was not in the habit of preaching much on 
his first taking orders, or that he copied many of them 
from his senior curate, which has sometimes been 
hinted, or that he altered his mode of composing 
them* In the university he had been considered 
rather more original than eloquent in the pulpit, but 
sufficiently attractive to draw the attention of both 
the old and young members of the university. In 
the college vacation, on coming among his friends he 
preached with great effect to crowded congregations 
in the church of his village ; and notwithstanding 
the ease with which such popularity is gained in such 
a neighbourhood by a man already much admired, 
yet it was said even then, that he was never well or 
thoroughly known, till he was heard from the pulpit. 
But k from the date of his taking upon him the more 
active duties of a clergyman, to the end of his life, his 


sermons have the same distinguishing character, and 
the mode of his delivery seems to have remained 
equally earnest and singular. One great excellence 
of his preaching and the performance of his church 
duties, was that he carried all his powers and all his 
heart into the pulpit. He was there, if any where, 
in his glory. As this indeed is remarked of him else- 
where, so it may be added, that he seemed peculiarly, 
and above all other feelings, impressed with a per- 
sonal concern in the devotions he led. He seemed 
anxious to catch the spirit of devotion rather than 
to be attentive to its forms. This much more than 
compensated for any want of dignity which he showed ; 
it was so apparent, that it held out at once to some 
of his hearers an excuse for his lowering the tone 
of his devotion to common and ordinary feelings. 
He certainly here showed himself free from any thing 
like affectation of solemnity, or the pomp of priest- 
hood, or the unaccommodating exclusive airs of a 
devotee. He who was cheerful and animated and 
bustling in the world, was all solemnity and zeal and 
earnestness in the pulpit. He avoided indeed the 
inconsistency of having two characters, by showing 
it impossible that he could be otherwise. He had 
not the art, or never used it, of presenting one face 
to one set of men, and another to another, but was 
the same man in different situations; and yet so 
much unlike what he usually appeared in mixed 
society, that no one would readily recognize him who 
did not understand what would be the effect upon 


such a mind, of pure unadulterated devotion. Though 
he adapted his conception and his views of a subject 
to the class of hearers to whom he preached, yet he 
was acceptable to all classes in any one congregation, 
by the plainness and originality of his illustrations, 
the peculiar strength, yet homeliness and familiarity 
of his style, the exactness and expressiveness of his 
language ; and it may bear observation, that he was 
particularly striking even to children, whose attention 
is not easily secured. It has often been observed by 
those of his hearers, who were scarcely able or in- 
quisitive enough to examine the reason, that the finer 
and more polished periods of celebrated preachers 
never impressed them so much, or fixed their at- 
tention so steadily as his manner of preaching; and 
some of his younger and habitual hearers have re- 
marked, when attending other very excellent and 
popular preachers, that though they found them- 
selves admiring the beauty of style and manner which 
was wanting in their own minister, they were far 
from being so sensible of any impression that was for 
their good afterwards. It was not easy to hear him 
with indifference; nor was there any agreeable mo- 
notony in his sermons to slumber over, for they con- 
tained nothing but roughnesses, and yet were full 
of sentences which formed rather general maxims, 
than mere matter of temporary application. He en- 
tered at once, not only into the spirit, but into the 
very middle of his subject, with such facility, and 
such powers of enlarging upon it, that he made his 


hearers acquainted with more in a short time, than 
might have been given to them on ordinary occasions 
by a hundred sermons. 

He had, as was remarked before on another occa- 
sion, a peculiarity of delivery, and awkwardness of 
attitude, more particularly observable in the pulpit, 
but the attention of his hearers soon wholly merged 
in the matter, and was carried from the preacher to 
the subject. He seemed indeed to be inattentive to 
all arts and elegancies of elocution, and to prefer what 
might show him anxious to do his best and do credit 
to his subject, rather than to be at all desirous of the 
graces and decorations of delivery. He persuaded 
his hearers, that, whatever he might be considered, 
however he might shine, however he might offend 
against more accurate taste, he reserved his whole 
powers for his subject. The manner of his preaching 
was strong and striking, and rather of a reproving 
cast, than soft or moving. He certainly approached 
the ludicrous, when he attempted to move by his 
oratory. In his delivery, that taste and application 
to the wants and desiderata of his subject, which is 
conspicuous in his writings, was looked for in vain. 
His voice is stated to have been rough and inhar- 
monious, and his accent provincial. This is not suf- 
ficiently qualified. His voice was not strikingly rough, 
but on the contrary in private sweet and very distinct ; 
but though deep, it was by no means strong, nor very 
capable of exertion. Its roughness, if any, was on 
occasional exertion. On first entering a church, where 


he was performing service, or a room where he was 
speaking, it was rather strikingly pleasant, because 
natural. Neither was his accent peculiarly provincial. 
It might have been called rather wanting in refine- 
ment, but by no means disagreeably so. 

Of his method of composing sermons, probably the 
best illustration may be drawn from his own rules on 
this subject, delivered in his lectures ; yet to see how 
far he was consistent with himself, and adopted his 
rules into his own practice, and also how many ad- 
ditions he found it necessary to make when the prac- 
tice of them came before him, it may be well to give 
one or two observations upon it. Indeed from the 
activity and energy of his mental powers, which led 
him to think of many points at once, from his being 
every where a minute and penetrating observer, and 
applying that observation to some purpose and some 
object ; from the general turn of his thoughts towards 
higher contemplation, from the constant recurrence 
of his duty, from his heart being wholly in this busi- 
ness, it is more than probable that he would himself 
be inclined to give great weight to this part of his 
writings. There is a reason which might probably 
prevent his appearing in public as a sermon-writer 
during his life, besides his own ingenuous declara- 
tion*, " that they are in such constant use, that he 
was glad to change his living because they came too 
often over." This is, that he was perhaps indebted 

* Meadley. 


to his sermons, or at least the enlargement of his 
subject in this way, for his works on Moral Philo- 
sophy, Evidences of Christianity, and Natural Theo- 
logy, as most of those sermons that remain seem 
clearly formed upon thoughts connected with his 
favourite subjects, and some of them contain the 
same sentiments, and even expressions which are to 
be found in his latest productions, though from their 
date evidently composed before he had any views of 
publication. Some of these sermons are published 
in this edition for the purpose of confirming this 
statement. Instead of any disparagement to him as 
a writer, it is presumed they will show that his works 
were certainly fondlings of his mind, and seem to 
have called forth the repeated application of his 
thoughts, and to have shared under one shape or 
another even the advanced powers of his intellect. 
His method of composing sermons then appears to 
have been this : — He let himself into the midst of his 
subject, and reduced what he had to say, or what he 
intended to say, into method and heads, before he 
encountered it, so as to see both beginning, middle, 
and end, at one view. He rarely undertook a subject 
at a venture. He was constantly in the habit of 
turning it over and over at his leisure, and guarding 
its progress by repeatedly turning back to where he 
set out, so that he came more than half prepared to 
his paper. Thus what is said* of his being a rapid 

'* Mcadley. The incident that gave rise to Meadley's inform- 
ation was the following : in later life, when on a visit at Buckden 


composer, or his seldom transcribing his sermons, 
might easily be accounted for. " Slow composition," 
in speaking of the composition of sermons in one of 
his charges, "does not in general answer; it makes 
breaks, and interrupts the flow of thought." But he 
was rather to be called a desultory than rapid composer 
of a sermon ; at any rate he was by no means a rapid 
finisher. He seldom was without two or three sermons 
lying unfinished on his table ; which he took up ac- 
cording to the channel of his thoughts, and was thus 
enabled to stuff them so much with acute observation, 
and pithy sentences. He recommends in the same 
charge, " frequent transcribing." " One writing," 
says he, " is worth many readings. It may be said 
perhaps that so much anxiety about diction destroys 
one of the best properties of popular writing, ease of 
style and manner. The very reverse of this is the truth, 
unless we choose to call slovenliness ease. There are 
no compositions in the language which have been so 
admired for the very quality of ease as those of the 

previous to his being installed to the subdeanery of Lincoln, he was 
asked to perform the Sunday duty there, and on being afterwards 
requested to leave his sermon there for private perusal, he an- 
swered, " You may have it, madam, freely, but it is what neither 
you nor any body else can make out, for I had much ado to make 
it out myself." Having promised, however, to get it copied, he 
shortly after gave it to his daughter, who, astonished as she well 
might be, at the laborious charge committed to her, plagued him 
so much for explanations of what he himself could not make out, 
that he tried what dictating would do, and in this task he was 
interrupted by the friend who gave Meadley this information. 


late Mr. Sterne ; yet none I believe ever cost their 
author more trouble. I remember to have seen a 
letter of his, in which he speaks of himself as having 
been incessantly employed for six months upon one 
small volume." He also recommends " frequent revisals 
of what was written. ,, This was his own case. No 
man for instance was so particular about punctuation ; 
in many of his writings the only intelligible marks of 
his pen at first sight are prodigious commas. He 
seems to have been careful, and even almost proud, 
not only of striking out what he conceived from his 
own experience to be the prevailing desiderata of the 
subject, but grappling with any obvious difficulties. 
This indeed is said very happily* to be a distin- 
guishing character of his works, and it seems to have 
been partly the cast and bent of his mind. He never 
seems to refuse any the most knotty point, for fear 
of not encountering it with sufficient force ; nor to 
have avoided any perplexing intricacy, for fear of not 
disentangling it so as to make it intelligible to his 
hearers. He seldom attempted to make more than 
one or two impressions, in one sermon, for this reason, 
that a sermon is better worth the labour which conveys 
any one impression, than that which is so full of 
matter, that it either leaves the hearers in doubt 
what to take hold of, or wholly lost in a mass of con- 
fusion. For much the same reason, he was a friend 
to short sermons. " Let one impression," said he 

* Chalmers. 


to a friend, " be but made, and send it home with 
your congregation, and you do more for them than 
giving them twenty comments. " 

One prevailing defect which is sometimes com- 
plained of, and which has struck many of his congre- 
gation on hearing him from the pulpit, is a want of 
close or conclusion, or gradual winding up of his 
subject. He never spun out his discourse ; whether 
short or long he finished it as soon as he had no more 
to say. He was not much in the habit of appealing 
to the feelings of his congregation, and seems not to 
have relished the usual way of applying what he had 
previously been saying by any well wrought or arti- 
ficial mode of addressing their feelings, Nor does it 
seem so much from any studied design, much less 
from any artifice, that these abrupt conclusions so 
often occur, but rather from an unwillingness to 
affect what he did not feel, and what he could not 
have delivered with any degree of self-possession. 
Though by no means deficient in feeling and pathos, 
which he had the power of rousing in the best way 
by natural, unaffected touches, not too much dwelt 
upon, he was certainly more partial to the way of 
working conviction by reason, than taking any ad- 
vantage of feeling, when he did not feel. Though 
possessed of the warmest feelings of religion, he never 
indulged in the religion of feeling. 

He might indeed have discovered from the manner 
in which his early sermons were received (supposing 
the* specimens given do mark his true method of 


writing at that time), that the delivery of such was 
but ill suited to his inelegant manner. He might 
think, if he reasoned upon it, that whatever moved 
the affection was perishable as the affection itself; 
whatever made an impression upon the understand- 
ing, or wrought conviction by the force of reason, 
was at least more likely to be permanent ; but it was 
more consistent with his natural character to suppress 
or conceal his feelings. On religious subjects he 
seldom conversed, and rarely spoke at all upon them 
with any of his family. Whether in addition to this 
constitutional bias he felt that the display of even 
natural feelings was often attendant upon weakness 
or affectation, and that man's religious feelings were 
too awful a subject for bunglers to meddle with, it is 
clear as well from his manner of preaching as from the 
composition of his later sermons, that there was not 
an attempt made to guide either himself or his hearers 
by feeling. So much indeed do most of his later 
sermons, published and unpublished, partake of this 
character, that they have been, though rather injudi- 
ciously, classed amongst moral and religious essays, in 
utter regardlessness of what he expresses in one of his 
own charges : " The danger however (i. e, of preaching 
up the necessity of faith, which was left to be unpro- 
ductive) is nearly overpast. We are on the contrary 
setting up a kind of philosophical morality, detached 
from religion, and independent of its influence, which 
may be cultivated, it is said, as well without Chris- 


tianity as with it; and which, if cultivated, renders 
religion, and religious institutions, superfluous. A 
mode of thought so contrary to truth, and so dero- 
gatory from the value of revelation, cannot escape 
the vigilance of the Christian ministry. We are en- 
titled to ask upon what foundation this morality rests. 
If it refer to the divine will, (and without that, where 
will it find its sanctions, or how support its authority?) 
there cannot be a conduct of the understanding more 
irrational than to appeal to those intimations of the 
Deity's character, which the light and order of nature 
afford as to the rule and measure of our duty, yet to 
disregard and affect to overlook the declarations of 
his pleasure which Christianity communicates. It is 
impossible to distinguish between the authority of 
natural and revealed religion. We are bound to re- 
ceive the precepts of revelation for the same reason 
that we comply with the dictates of nature. He who 
despises a command which proceeds from his Maker, 
no matter by what means or through what medium, 
instead of advancing, as he pretends to do, the do- 
minion of reason, and the authority of natural re- 
ligion, disobeys the first injunction of both*." 

Instead of making a sermon to a text, he not un- 
frequently chose his text after he had completed his 
sermon; not, according to the old receipt, because 
his text would suit any sermon, or his sermon any 

* This was preached in the year 1790, not long after the pub- 
lication of his Moral Philosophy. 


text, but because he was in the habit of considering 
the wants of his congregation, or of turning over 
some subject, which wanted to be made plain to his 
hearers, without a particular reference to his text or 
any single passage of Scripture. There is a story by 
Meadley of his making eight sermons from one text. 
Two or three appear amongst his collection with the 
text specified, " Exhort one another daily, while 
it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin," Heb. iii. 13 ; 
but nothing extraordinary is to be said of them, 
except that they are written in a different hand. 
His choice of texts seems to have been more from 
those passages of the Epistles that are the least intel- 
ligible : if in any thing he did not sufficiently re- 
press the marks of his being a scholar, it was in this. 
He copied from none. He was perfectly original, 
if not in matter, yet in the manner of bringing it 
forward : yet he seems to have adopted for his model, 
Sherlock, Clarke, and Hoadley ; the latter of whom 
he calls " the excellent Hoadley." He resembles 
them not only in the rationality of their style and 
sentiment, and their freedom from any improper dis- 
play of learning or feeling, but also in the choice and 
treatment of many of their subjects. Indeed the 
only stolen sermons which are amongst his collection 
are two from Hoadley : so that his direction in his 
College Lectures, " As to preaching, if your situation 
requires a sermon every Sunday, make one and steal 
five" was not adopted from his own practice ; nor 

VOL. I. I 


is it easy to tell where he could have found sermons 
at all suited to his habit of thinking or manner of 
delivery. These, too, were his general books on a 
Sunday evening, when he had his family round him, 
and one of them reading aloud : Tillotson more 
rarely, and sometimes Scougal, and Ostervald's Cor- 
ruptions of Christians, by Mutel. What he says so well 
in his Lectures, " When your Greek Testament is 
stocked with notes, the interpretation of texts is at 
hand/' is true of his own manner of composing ; for 
his Greek Testament from which he lectured is a 
small Wetstein, interleaved with quarto sheets, as 
full as it can hold from beginning to end of manu- 
script notes, written almost in a short hand peculiar to 
himself. — If these observations have taken up more 
room than memoirs of this kind seem to allow, they 
as properly belong to this place as any other, for the 
reasons mentioned before ; and could not well be 
given in any less critical manner, without reserving 
the whole for some future page, with which it might 
be more unconnected. 

In his public capacity of clergyman, his attention 
was also necessarily much drawn to the wants of his 
parish in particular, and, by his intimacy with the 
bishop's family and with the archdeacon, to the 
affairs of the clergy in general belonging to the dio- 
cese. Much of the management as well as interest, 
both of the bishop and dean and chapter, fell neces- 
sarily under his friend the archdeacon, Mr. Law's, 
charge ; and this made it, by a common sort of sweep- 


ing supposition, generally believed, though entirely 
without grounds, that he, with the assistance of Mr. 
Paley, had the management and administration of 
the whole ecclesiastical affairs within that diocese. 
Mr. Paley never interfered beyond his station at any 

About this time, that is, during his residence at 
Appleby, either as vicar of Dalston, or rector of 
Musgrave,- he preached his first sermon, and chose 
for his subject the use and application of Scripture 
language. He seems to have pitched upon this sub- 
ject, not so much from any signal misapplication that 
had been made, or from any party in the church 
which at that time was struggling for ascendancy in 
the diocese ; but he had, probably, in his official situ- 
ation as chaplain observed, that very little attention 
was paid to such matters ; and it was easy to see what 
would be the consequence of a general want of distin- 
guishing between the two uses of certain Scripture 
terms. It seems to have been his object on that, as 
on most other occasions of his life, to strike out some- 
thing deserving of public attention — rather with a 
view of drawing men's minds from a blind attachment 
to any ill-grounded position, than with the design of 
promoting, or making himself known as a favourer 
of any particular sentiment. 

It is not for the sake of instituting a fresh inquiry 
into the merits of this performance, that it is here 
noticed; but of declaring at once that it seems scarcely 
to consist either with the decency or propriety of this 

i 2 


undertaking, to graft any private sentiments and 
writings of the author upon a mere detail of his life 
and opinions : nor does it seem to savour less of a 
general want of material, than of misplaced criticism, 
that such advantage is taken in some of the Lives 
already published. Could an opportunity be allowed 
in such a work as the present to indulge in any opi- 
nion of that kind, certainly it would be readily seized 
to observe upon the absence of all point and applica- 
tion to, of fair grappling with, the main arguments 
which the criticisms made public on this and many 
other occasions, present. But it will not be improper 
to take a passing view, as occasion may arise, of some 
odd inconsistencies, with which no writer can be 
justly chargeable ; and which are wholly to be referred 
to the differing sentiments of the reader, and an in- 
attention to the main design of the writing. Instead, 
therefore, of entering at all into what might seem to 
awaken criticisms long since laid asleep, it will be' 
best to limit observation to the mere style and com- 
position of the various works. 

It is remarkable that this sermon has, above many 
others, given rise to an opinion that an evident 
" change" took place afterwards in his sentiments ; 
because his sentiments on the doctrine of conversion 
are stated more fully, but not one whit less firmly, in 
the volume of sermons published after his death. As 
far as change may be wanted, or might have been 
desirable, it would be well to take refuge in the Spa- 
nish* pro verb mentioned by the Spectator, — " A wise 


man changes his mind, a fool never will." But in 
this case something still more applicable may be ob- 
served, against any change being either felt or wanted 
by this writer. It is not certain that the one was not 
founded upon the other, so far as to be an improve- 
ment upon and a more detailed view of the particular 
doctrine. What tends to confirm this opinion is, 
that one or two sermons, given in this edition, bear 
evident marks of being much later compositions than 
that time, and yet contain the same sentiments of 
Scripture language; whilst there are others which 
were, by their marks and dates, evidently composed 
about that time, containing sentiments which might 
be made to speak a sense as different as any thing 
which is said to indicate a change. Indeed when a 
" change 5 ' of views is spoken of, or attributed to any 
writer, of a great many different subjects at many dif- 
ferent times, it should be recollected what is the par- 
ticular aim at each time of writing, or each mention 
of such subject ; and though it has often been ob- 
served, since the posthumous volume of sermons came 
out, that the writer never before appeared in such 
softened colouring, or in such a kindly genial light, 
nor was ever known well as a Christian divine before 
that volume made its appearance, yet to show at once 
how much of this surprise is owing to the reader who 
expresses it rather than to the subject on which it is 
expressed, it is certain that most, if not all the ser- 
mons in such volume, were composed during the early 
part of his ministry. It may be admitted, indeed, 


that he is no ordinary writer, so it is not easy for a 
slovenly or hasty reader to take in at one glance all 
the meaning and application of particular passages ; 
so much indeed is this the case, together with a cer- 
tain air of originality, and as it were novelty in the 
construction of his sentences, that a difficulty some- 
times felt in getting forward in the perusal of his 
works, is the being obliged to go back and revise 
every now and then some few sentences or periods. 
Though perspicuity is certainly so leading a trait of his 
whole works as well as of his particular expressions, that 
a reader is never in doubt about his aim, yet that very 
perspicuity is the cause of some perplexity. When 
others would use periphrasis and wordy explanations, 
he always seems to convey in the fewest words what 
he intends ; so that a reader may be well at a loss to 
recollect the steps by which he has got to his point, 
and be surprised to find himself there so much sooner 
than he expected. It is thus also * very possible, that 
the reader may carry forward impressions which are 
unauthorised or undesigned, or unthought of in other 
parts of the same writing. Something too must be 
allowed on this head, to the train of sentiment which 

* Though, in contradiction to this opinion, I have heard it 
sometimes asserted that a reader is always at home in these 
works, and never has to look back for a connexion or a meaning, 
that every where being so familiar and apparent $ yet I am not 
disposed to change this opinion, conceiving that there is a suf- 
ficient variance between the scope of the two opinions to warrant 
both. Ed. 


a writer is carrying on, and which may lead to many 
expressions apparently inconsistent with the same 
writer on different subjects. Something must be 
allowed to the improvement of a young and compa- 
ratively inexperienced divine ; something to an un- 
willingness, or a want of opportunity, to explain the 
exact manner in which one opinion hinges on another, 
even though a conviction be present that such opi- 
nion will seem inconsistent ; something to a wish at 
any future time to explain or to soften the decisive- 
ness of an opinion delivered, though not with haste, 
yet without sufficient qualification; something to a 
bluntness and short sententiousness in the mode of 
delivering an opinion, — which mode is, of all others, 
perhaps the most subject to misconstruction, as well 
as to the charge of inconsistency, from containing 
parts of a meaning which at other times it may be 
necessary to contradict ; something too, and a great 
deal, must be allowed to the consideration of what is 
the main aim and design of the writer, for by this all 
other thoughts are generally to be measured. We 
need not look farther for the want of such allowances, 
with respect to the present author, than to one or two 
of the Charges delivered shortly after this time ; in 
which, as well as in other detached parts of his works, 
he may be said either to be inconsistent with himself, 
or to have changed his sentiments. In truth, it is 
not a mere probability, but a position, that waits only 
a close examination to be proved, that the incon- 


sistencies with which this writer may be charged, are 
not less than those with which he has been charged. 
By one, indeed, he has been held to have unscrip- 
tural views of many doctrinal points ; and by another 
to have abandoned his reserve, and expressed himself 
too freely an advocate for those very doctrines. By 
Trinitarians he is represented as smacking of a Soci- 
nian ; by Unitarians, as leaning too much to the con- 
trary side. By one he is said to hold Anti-Christian 
views, by another to be a genuine Christian. By 
some his system of morals is thought to depend too 
much on religion, by others not enough. By one set 
he is held to have sapped the very foundation of our 
church establishment, by another to have been too 
much confined to forms and habits of veneration for 
them. By this party he is said to have spoken his 
mind too freely and bluntly on politics, by that to 
have been shamefully indecisive. But this is not all. 
Those who have a happy knack of finding out the 
bent and course of opinions of any writer from sen- 
tences culled " Apis Hymetti more modoque," would 
be able, by such an investigation of his writings, to 
make him either a latitudinarian or a bigot ; either 
tolerant or intolerant ; either high church or low 
church ; either whig or tory ; either violent liberal, 
or a prejudiced advocate for subjection and obedience 
to unlimited prerogative. Without admitting that 
such misconstructions are obvious, but rather advert- 
ing to the inattention and disregard with which some 


readers apply to any works which seem to contradict 
their own favourite bias, it may easily be acknow- 
ledged that this writer is as liable as many others to 
the charge of inconsistency and wavering sentiments. 
It is by no means unlikely to arise from that sort of 
decided and sententious tone, which is often attend- 
ant upon superior abilities ; but which, unfortunately 
for them, is so much oftener assumed by mere sciolists, 
that it is seldom received without some hesitation or 
qualification. It seems to be one great characteristic 
of his mind, that he preserved a steady uniformity 
and consistency of opinion on most of the great points 
of his religion, and such an even balance withal as 
led him to allow for different ways and habits of 
thinking *. At any rate, be it change, be it improve- 
ment, be it inconsistency, be it variableness or inde- 
cision, or any other less fixed and decided change 
which any of his works seem to deserve, the only 
anxiety which can at present be shown is to repre- 
sent him as a most honest and independent writer, 
who never blinked his sentiments from a desire to be 
considered as leaning to any party nor any set of 
opinions. He seldom swerved at all from his own 
habits of thinking and acting, from any consciousness 
that such misapprehension might arise ; nor ever was 

* The Quarterly Review for 1809 says, u He is never so 
blindly bigoted to what he himself approves, as not to be aware 
that an opposing bias, or a different cast of thought, may cause 
others to draw conclusions directly the reverse." 


much troubled with a suspicion that he was liable to 
any such charges. He seems to have gone straight 
forward, without attending to what might be said of 

He will be found called out on one or two public 
occasions shortly after this period, and publishing 
sentiments equally new and original ; which, if they 
speak any thing, bespeak not a mind either wedded 
to party, or bound up in prejudice of any kind. 
Thus at an Ordination, holden at Rose Castle, as 
bishop's chaplain, he preached an admonitory ser- 
mon to the young clergy, in which he entered into 
topics almost too familiar, but still uniting, in his 
strong and characteristic manner, the sanctity of 
the ministry with the ordinary occupations of life. 
This sermon is published amongst the tracts of the 
Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. Two 
years after this he delivered a sermon at the conse- 
cration of the bishop of Clonfert in Ireland, which 
displeased the liberal party by the partiality he showed 
for the establishments of his church, and was equally 
dissatisfactory to the high church party, by implying 
that the church was only one of the numerous family 
of Christianity, instead of being its only offspring. 
This will serve exactly to confirm the opinion here 
expressed on his change of views, and of his being a 
writer careful to balance between the extremes ; and 
therefore, like other independent men, liable to be mis- 
construed by both parties, and of little use to either. 
He who is too limited for low church, and too broad 

LIFE OF Dlt. VALEY. 123 

and liberal for high church, but steadily adheres 
to his own views, and those views formed without 
partiality to either party, may be exposed to the 
neglect of both, and the contempt of both ; but he 
may think it satisfaction enough to know that truth 
will certainly prevail at last. Indeed it is quite cu- 
rious, at this day, to look back upon the contending 
sentiments that have been entertained of this writer, 
and the opposite views that have been attributed to him 
throughout the whole of his literary career. 

Here properly enough may be noticed, among 
other smaller works, the publication of the Compa- 
nion in Visiting the Sick ; which was not indeed sent 
out for some few years after this date, when he lived 
at Carlisle. The history of the little tract, which 
has by a surprising blunder been printed and pub- 
lished amongst his works, is shortly this : He had 
experienced, as is intimated in an advertisement pre- 
fixed to the edition he sent out, a want of some more 
assistance than was given by the Liturgy, and a little 
close application to the many particular cases in which 
clergymen must necessarily, and are invited by the 
rubric of the church, to step over the usual bounds of 
public offices. He had found at Giggleswick, in his 
father's possession and use, the ninth edition of an 
excellent compilation, chiefly from bishop Jeremy 
Taylor's Rules and Exercises for Holy Dying, with 
a few prayers selected from the Liturgy and some 
of the older divines. Whether this, which was dated 
1754, and dedicated to the archbishop of Canter- 


bury by I. W., or some of a later date, many of 
which are extant, formed the ground-work of the 
present edition, is not very well worth determining ; 
but it is necessary to say, that he neither made the 
slightest addition to it, nor had the least wish for or 
thought of claiming any merit from it. His sole 
design in editing it was for the good of his brethren 
in the same diocese, who had laboured under similar 
difficulties with himself. 

In a very short time after obtaining the rectory of 
Musgrave, he is said to have been instituted by his 
patron, the bishop of Carlisle, to the vicarage of Dal- 
ston, near his lordship's episcopal residence. Hither, 
however, he did not remove or reside at all for the 
present ; for, in a little time, the living of Appleby, 
at that time £200 a year, becoming vacant, was pre- 
sented to him by the dean and chapter of Carlisle, 
— probably with some degree of influence used by 
his friend the archdeacon. This conjecture seems 
strengthened by an opinion which stands uncor- 
rected in the work before alluded to*, that the 
vicarage of Appleby was given to him as a farther 
provision in the church, in order to enable him to 
send out his Moral Philosophy. It is known, in- 
deed, that it was owing to Mr. Law's and the bishop's 
interference that it was sent out at all ; for they ex- 
pressed themselves so decidedly partial to the clear- 
ness and method, and, as it were, the familiar reason- 

* Public Characters for 1801 and 1802. 


ing he had shown in his Lectures, that they were 
anxious for the publication of them. For this pur- 
pose it was necessary to digest them rather more 
into a regular treatise, though little expectation was 
formed of their being much added to or altered. He 
had expressed himself to his friend, on many occa- 
sions before this period, unwilling to involve himself, 
considering his present situation as a family man, in 
the risk of publishing what might not indemnify him 
for the expense of publication. Whether such a con- 
dition might be expressed or implied in private con- 
versation between them, is uncertain ; but certainly 
nothing in any shape bordering on either a promise 
or a conditional presentation was either suspected at 
the time, or could have occurred, since it is expressly 
contradicted in his own hand-writing. 

That from this time he began to meditate a work 
of the kind, and to habituate himself at the age of 
thirty-four to the name of a writer and an author, is 
thought by his more intimate friends not improbable, 
for the following reasons : Many of his sermons 
written during this period are enlargements of the 
particular heads of his lectures, and form parts both 
of his Evidences, the Moral Philosophy, and Natural 
Theology. This circumstance, though curious in 
itself, cannot at all detract from the merit of those 
works, as it shows the direction of his thoughts at 
this time, and the peculiar way in which he con- 
nected his study and his duty together. Another 
fact, which seems to confirm the conjecture here 


made, is, that its publication was understood in his 
family to be retarded by a circumstance which is 
reserved for private histories of this kind to record, 
but which can scarcely at this distance of time be 
considered as material to any of the parties con- 
cerned. Mr. Law expressed a wish to have its pub- 
lication delayed during the bishop of Carlisle's life, 
because he considered some opinion there expressed 
at variance with his father's sentiments. In conse- 
quence of this, Mr. Paley hesitated, till he found 
Mr. Edward Law, the late Lord Ellenborough, 
equally urgent for its appearance, as it had been many 
years in hand. Some of Dr. Paley's family have 
supposed that the work employed nearly seven years, 
from its first commencement to its final arrangement 
and finishing off. He always declared, the produce 
of its sale, if any, should go towards the fortune of 
his eldest daughter ; as she was at that time the chief 
and almost exclusive object of his anxiety, only two 
of his family being born at Appleby : and as no such 
exclusive attachment was afterwards shown, it has 
naturally been supposed that he commenced the work 
at Appleby. At any rate, what has been conjectured 
concerning this work, viz. that the plan of it was 
adopted or at least developed between the years 1776 
and 1785, only proves how little is got by guessing ; 
as the little short essay on the Morality of the Gospel, 
and the sentence from that little treatise on which 
much of the conjecture rests, will appear both of 
them inapplicable to the work in question, and to 


have been written at the very time when he was car- 
rying on his plan of Expediency in his lectures*. 
The bishop of Carlisle, before Mr. Paley left Cam- 
bridge, had occasion to send out for the use of stu- 
dents in the university, a small and separate edition 
of part of his Considerations on the Theory of Reli- 
gion ; to which was attached a short Essay on the Cha- 
racter of Christ, with an Appendix on the Morality 
of the Gospel, by Mr. Paley. This, though it made 
but little show, might add considerably to his name 
as an original writer on subjects by no means uncom- 
mon, and raise the expectations of his friends ; but 
it was only an enlargement on part of his lectures 
on divinity, from which, as will hereafter appear, was 
made up his Evidences of Christianity. It is taken 
from a loose sheet, which, amongst many others, were 
kept by his side in lecturing, and occasionally referred 
to in his lecture-book, by " produce the papers." 

It is well observed t, that it is of the greatest im- 
portance in the history of an extraordinary mind, to 

* Meadley, who from Paley's position in this little work, that 
" the Gospel rule of loving our neighbour as ourselves, and doing 
as we would be done by, are much superior rules of life to the 
to tfperfov of the Greek, or the konestum of the Latin moralists, 
and better than the utile or general expediency of the moderns,'* 
seems to draw a fair conclusion that the System of Expediency 
was not adopted till after the date of this work, — is carried away 
by his deference for generally assigned names in adopting Expe- 
diency as the term which ought to designate Paley's System of 
Moral Philosophy. 

t Bisset's Life of Burke. 


mark as far as possible the progression of its powers, 
exertions, and attainments, the discipline and di- 
rection which may have had an effect upon them, 
" quo progressu, quibus initiis usque eb creverit" and 
every thing which regards the formation of so popular 
a work may deserve attention # . To state in a few 
words what appears to have been the prominent cir- 
cumstance which brought his talents into play is per- 
haps impossible, for it was by a very gradual progress, 
almost from infancy, that such powers of mind be- 
came uncommon ; but that the application of such 
powers to works like this of Moral Philosophy, Na- 
tural Theology, and the Evidences of Christianity, 
(which may be called his great works) depended 
partly on the circumstances of his life, and partly on 
the natural bent of his mind, seems borne out by the 
fact, that from the age of thirty to the end of his 
life, he seems to have employed his stock of thought 
and contemplation on two great subjects, Divinity 
and Morality ; more especially and characteristically, 
the religion usually professed in this country, and 
the conduct suitable to that profession, or springing 
from it. 

But a little longer digression, if it be called so, 
may be allowed for a few observations on the com- 
position and formation of the work more immediately 
concerned at present ; though it was not published 
till some years after. 

* Meadley. 


Sufficient ground seems to be given by the preface 
to the Moral Philosophy, as well as by the various 
lecture-books to which his own eventually succeeded 
in the university, for saying that the plan of the 
work was drawn from the system which he found 
already adopted in his college, of lecturing on ethics. 
The books generally adopted at that time in those 
colleges of Cambridge where ethics, or what was 
connected with ethics, were made an object of at- 
tention, were Rutherforth's Institutes of Natural 
Law, Hutchinson, Tucker, and Clarke. In his own 
college Dr. Backhouse, predecessor to Mr. Paley 
in that department, had given his lectures from 
Hutchinson. So applicable, however, was this new 
way of treating the science to the object he had in 
view at the time of forming his lectures, so much 
was it a desideratum even in the university, to pro- 
cure some popular and practical treatment of this 
subject, that in 1785 and 1786, immediately after its 
publication, Paley's Moral Philosophy was made a 
subject of frequent disputation in the schools ; and, 
not long after, was substituted for other books pretty 
generally throughout the university. It is said in- 
deed, that the substance of his lectures was retained 
in his college by succeeding tutors, long after he 
quitted Cambridge ; whether this was so or not, as 
soon as the Moral Philosophy was published, it was 
adopted at Christ's also. His mode of treating the 
subject of ethics was that of a mind grasping its sub- 
ject, and turning it every way, in order to bring it 
vol. 1. K 


into more ordinary use and application, and that 
without any pretension to originality of design : with- 
out examining any doubts, encountering any errors, 
discussing any obscurities, but what he had himself 
found actually to exist, he rooted amongst those very 
doubts, errors, and obscurities, till he was able to 
bring all his subject together clearly and satisfactorily 
in a point, at which it might be taken hold of. Hence 
originated his lectures. Still the same mind which 
struck out such a mode of reducing old systems to 
modern use, and connected them with common sense 
and common practice, carried on its operations, as 
might be expected, with the same acuteness and 
penetration ; and having entered upon a certain course 
of study and thought, improved each lecture from 
time to time by the addition of various hints, with a 
view to their publication. This plan of publishing 
his Moral Philosophy was certainly pressed upon him 
by his friend Mr. Law, who knew well enough his 
prevailing taste for rubbing off the stiffness of school 
learning, and forming a reading-made-easy of an ab- 
struse science, and for offering it in the most im- 
posing shape. On his leaving college, he was still 
observing of his plan in the performance of his clerical 
duties ; and it has already been observed, that many 
of his most popular and most striking sermons were 
1 but an enlargement of his one train of thought. In 
the pulpit of his parish he became habituated to the 
mode of familiarizing subjects of morality. He adapted 
his thoughts to country congregations, and by such 


means began to feel his way to more ordinary capa- 
cities ; so that when he was called upon for the pub- 
lication of his works, he had little else to do than to 
arrange materials already collected*, and partly de- 
scanted upon. Such facts as these (for they are not 
difficult to be ascertained) may seem to some to be 
the secrets of authors, which are better not divulged ; 
by others they may be considered as detracting ma- 
terially from the merit of the author's originality. 
But he pretends to none in the general subjects of 
his greater works : and in the particular treatment 
of these general subjects, the very plan he adopted 
according to his own words, " of first putting down 
his own thoughts, purposely in order to keep clear of 
the train of other writers," was the way to ensure 
originality in some degree \ and still it rather adds 
to than diminishes our admiration, to know that such 
works were the constant subject of thought, some for 
twenty, others for thirty years, and are the sources 
from which all his other public writings flowed. In- 
deed the want of originality, which has been often 
noticed in this writer, applies more to his choice of 
subject than the manner of treating it ; and this is 
likely to be almost the least consideration, or the least 
of all objections, when we know that it was not so 
much the design of the author to strike out any thing 

* It is related by Wilson, in his History and Antiquities of 
Dissenting Churches, that Lardner's "Credibility" probably owed 
its rise to three discourses, delivered by that eminent man in a 
Tuesday evening lecture at the Old Jewry in 1723. 

K 2 


for himself to enlarge upon, — which is often no less 
easy than useless, — but to apply the whole force of 
his powers to improve the grand subjects in which 
men's interests are chiefly involved, in a new and 
striking manner ; and thus, much of the author's 
design necessarily depends for its execution upon the 
proportion of thought and consideration which he has 
been able to bring to his assistance. It may be fur- 
ther stated, that these objects of his contemplation 
were almost daily enlarging themselves, as fresh hints 
were received, or new subjects of observation arose, 
or additional penetration was used to take hold of 
men's motives on common occasions. In short, if 
any quality is prominent in his chief works, it may 
be the mass of mind which they seem to contain. 
They were certainly no hasty production, nor can 
any other writing of the same author's be called im- 
mature in sentiment and opinion. 

Another matter which may, like this last, be con- 
sidered a sort of literary secret, inasmuch as it may 
open the very workshop of an author to public in- 
spection, seems less obnoxious to the charge of im- 
proper exposure, — because there can be now scarcely 
any indelicacy in giving it or withholding it. This 
is no other than a view of his manuscript books, or 
rough copies ; which may perhaps be curious, even 
beyond the blots and blurs of other authors, and 
interesting, as displaying the most intimate view of 
the rise, progress, and final settlement of his works. 

As a matter of curiosity, it may deserve mention, 


that they are contained in eight or nine thick quarto 
paper books, with a sufficient number of smaller scrap 
books, and some for pocket use. These books are 
full of scribbling from one end to the other, in one 
of the worst and most illegible hands that ever adorned 
genius, mixed up in a confused and unconnected 
heap with penmanship of a fair and seemly quality. 
It is quite impossible to make out any connexion in 
either the pages of his books, the continuations of 
his sections, or even the scheme of his work. He 
seems to have filled up in any manner, or in any part 
of his books, the different divisions of his subject till 
the very last. The bookseller's copy was probably 
the only one perfectly arranged. Of the Moral Phi- 
losophy indeed, only one or two books remain besides 
his Lecture-book - y nor are these wholly devoted even 
to one work, but present a jumble of Moral Philo- 
sophy and Evidences of Christianity, with many scraps 
of less importance. To those who write straight for- 
ward on any given subject, it might be surprising — -to 
those also who were acquainted with his way of seizing 
upon any idea that was of use to him, or who have 
seen him busied and intent on his work, it is more 
than amusing to survey the strange mixture of ma- 
terial which is to be found in his other books. They 
form a complete " olla podrida." For instance, in 
the midst of his Evidences, there is one page con- 
taining the authenticity of the historical books of the 
New Testament, and on the opposite page to it, a 
memorandum of having added a codicil to his will ; 


then come three or four pages full of family occur- 
rences of all descriptions, interspersed with a few 
sentences or a passage to be found in some of his 
works. Any one reading, if he can read, these pages, 
will find some interesting argument interrupted in 
the next page, and for two or three following pages, 
by the hiring of servants, the letting of fields, sending 
his boys to school, reproving some members of a hos- 
pital under his care for bad conduct ; epistolary cor- 
respondence, both literary and friendly. There are 
to be found scraps of Latin joined to paragraphs of a 
sermon, and here a dedication of some of his works 
mixed up with an exercise of some of his children. 
So great indeed was the mixture of material, that it is 
easy for his family to say how much perplexity, as 
well as amusement, he has been known to reap from 
this circumstance. He has been heard twenty times 
to break out into a hearty laugh at his own folly in 
this respect. 

Not the least subject of curiosity which the in- 
spection of his manuscript offers, is his hand-writing. 
If this be as some suppose, one of the characteristics 
of every writer, here, as well as in his manuscript 
sermons, is good gleaning for his character. We are 
sometimes told that there are three descriptions of 
hand-writing, into some of which most men slide who 
can write at all ; that which every body may read, 
that which only the writer himself can read, and that 
which neither the writer nor any body else can read. 
But his hand-writing includes all these descriptions. 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 135 

He had acquired, from a hasty and rapid overflow of 
ideas, a habit of suddenly snatching up his pen and 
writing down at any moment what happened to occur 
to him, however differently he might be employed. 
So much had this habit grown upon him, that he 
latterly used a sort of short-hand scarcely to be de- 
ciphered by himself; so bad and so hurried indeed, 
that on revising some important sentence, he has 
been often heard to exclaim almost involuntarily, 
" What could I have been thinking or speaking 
about !" But this was only his rough writing ; and 
it appears by the copy of a letter to one of his sons, 
which stands in one of these books, that he generally 
adopted this plan of transcribing even on the most 
trifling occasion. He says, after giving him some 
very positive, and for him characteristically minute 
directions, by which he might take care of his hand- 
writing, " if you are so liable to mistakes, you will 
write, as I do, whatever you write, twice over ;" and 
it so happened, unfortunately for his example, that 
amongst the usual charges to his family in which we 
shall afterwards find he excelled, one was, to be very 
particular in keeping up their hand-writing. So like 
one undistinguished scribble was his own book, that 
on finding a page half written, one of his children, 
much under the writing age, very gravely filled it 
up with writing no less seemly, but with much less 
meaning, than the former half. In his earlier life he 
had written a very legible hand ; and his college 
lectures, as well as other papers written about that 


period, show that it was from the mere temporary 
hurry of committing his thoughts to paper, that he 
became so eccentric both in the manner and loose 
arrangement of his writing. It cannot indeed be 
any thing but a matter of wonder how an author, so 
conspicuous for his clearness and method, could draw 
any thing like order from such a confused incoherent 
and blotted mass as his manuscripts every where 
show ; nor is it possible to devise how he went to 
the work of connecting what he had written with 
what was still to write. 

He had his books constantly open on his table be- 
fore him ; and his sons, who were unconsciously and 
often unwillingly, the almost constant companions of 
his literary labours in his study, well remember to 
have observed him attending to two or three of them 
at one and the same time, — and at any pause, or any 
demand for the lexicon or grammar, seizing his pen, 
and inserting a sentence or two into his works ; and 
if this be not an uncommon or a commendable mode 
of composition, it speaks for another eminent quality 
of his mind, constant activity and exertion. It may 
serve indeed to show how the most active life may 
allow time, and the most uninteresting life food 
enough, to turn a man's powers to some use, if we 
state in what way he was never idle. He was by no 
means studious, in the sense of close application — of 
the actual reading and writing, and the sedentary 
part of a student's life. Though from his childhood 
to his life's end, he seems to have been more espe- 


cially addicted to mental than bodily activity, he did 
not possess a due share of literary character amongst 
his acquaintance, chiefly from his being so much more 
conversant in active life and the actual business of 
the world. He was nevertheless most thoroughly in- 
dustrious, in a more desultory way than most authors. 
From his first commencing writer, to the last stage 
of his life, he was scarcely for a moment without an 
object, and a literary object, to rest upon. When 
walking, fishing, riding, gardening, sitting still in his 
arm-chair, it appears from his papers that he was still 
constantly occupied. Some of the little books full of 
notes seem evidently to have been his pocket com- 
panions on his short excursions or his daily walks, 
and these he used on his return to unburden of their 

These several circumstances put together form 
strong symptoms, first of his constant gathering of 
thought ; secondly of his entering, in the book that 
he first met with (for many were laid open before 
him at once), the sentiments that occurred to him at 
any chance time ; and thirdly, that he used every 
moment, and even when apparently the most at lei- 
sure, he was still employed in labours of thought and 

His lecture-book on moral philosophy, or what 
is supposed to be his lecture-book*, contains only 

* The reasons upon which this may be sapposed to have been 
a lecture-book are, that it is generally written throughout in the 
same clear hand and faded ink with his loose papers on divinity, 


some of the parts into which his Moral Philosophy is 
divided. It is distributed into short but pithy sen- 
tences; under particular heads indeed, though without 
any general classification into books, chapters, or even 
sections. It does not form one half in words, though 
more than one half in substance, of his enlarged plan. 
For instance, the opening of his theory, which forms 
so conspicuous a part of his present system, stands 
only as a small part of his section on Promises, b. 3, 
c. 5. Almost the whole of b. 2 is new, or brought 
together from fragments scattered here and there. 
The relative duties, b. S, part % stand first after his 
introduction and preliminary consideration. Next 
come contracts, loans, commissions, offices; next, 
drunkenness stands at the top of the page, then sui- 

which certainly formed part of his lectures, and is bound up in 
the same way as his lecture-book from which his Evidences of 
Christianity are taken ; and also interlined and mixed up with 
corrections scribbled in a later hand-writing, which corrections 
are all adopted in the work as it now stands — clearly indicating 
their transformation into a regular arrangement. Throughout his 
manuscripts I scarcely find a stop or point of any kind except 
hyphens. In revising his sermons for the pulpit, he used to take 
his pen and make commas with a vengeance. He used to be 
particularly urgent with his children to mind dots to the i's, 
strokes to the t's, and commas in writing ; so that in this as in 
most other parts of instruction, he judged from his own expe- 
rience of what was most wanting in himself. In the correction 
of the press this was made a main object. He marked sheets 
with commas, as he used to say, as long as the printer's nose. 
He never allowed even the smallest handbill to go out of his hands 
without correction in this particular. Ed. 


cide, self-defence, litigation, resentment; and with- 
out any more division than is usually made between 
all these heads, viz. a fresh page, we come at estate, 
properli/, with this identical, important, and damning 
sentiment, which appears to have been written as 
early as 1773 or 4, or whenever his lectures com- 
menced ; and which is here given verbatim, in order 
that the reader may compare, if he please, the ex- 
pression of the sentiment at that early period, when 
nothing perhaps was farther from his thoughts than 
being drawn into public and pecked at like his own 
pigeons. " If you saw a flock of pigeons in a corn- 
field, instead of each picking where and what it liked, 
taking so much and no more than what it wanted, — if 
instead of this you saw ninety-nine of them gathering 
all they got into a heap, taking nothing for them- 
selves but a little chaff and refuse, keeping this heap 
for one, and that the weakest perhaps and worst of 
the whole flock ; sitting round and looking on all 
the winter, while this one was eating and throwing 
it about and wasting it, and if one more hardy or 
hungry than the rest touched a grain of it, all the 
others instantly flew upon it and tore it to pieces : 
if you saw all this, you would see nothing more than 
what is every day practised and established among 
men. Among men you see the ninety-and-nine toil- 
ing and scraping together a heap of superfluities and 
niceties for one, gather nothing for themselves all 
the while but a little of the coarsest of it ; and this 
one too, ofttimes the feeblest and worst of the whole 


set, — a child, a woman, a madman, a fool ; looking 
quietly on, while they see the fruits of all their labour 
spent or spoiled, and if one of them take or touch the 
least of it, the others join all against him and hang 
him for the theft*." Next to property, which is 
connected as it now stands by pages following one 
another marked at the top — advantages of it — the 
history of it — the real foundation of right — the law 
of the country— father, parents, their duty towards 
God, and after a few white leaves, we meet with one 
marked politics; after which subject, the cutting out 
of ten or twenty leaves makes the only blank in the 
book : but there is a great deal of additional matter 
inserted in his short-hand sort of writing at every 
vacant space of the following pages ; and the next 
page presents to us lie, after that comes marriage, 
then oaths, then promises, then rights ; next trade 
and commerce, wills and testaments. After that 
about 200 quarto pages of more modern scribbling, 
which few but the writer may make out, and which 
perhaps few but himself were thought to be interested 

* In his Lectures from which the Evidences are taken, there is 
a paragraph which might make just as much the other way. " We 
all know that a story which falls in with our own sentiments and 
passions gains an easy admission. The most unlikely and incre- 
dible things of the king and his ministers would go down with a 
party or a faction ; with a club of modern patriots for instance, 
upon the slightest foundation, if it confirmed a notion they had 
taken up about the ministry, or served to humour their resent- 
ment against them." 


in making out. This writing is chiefly on promises 
and contracts. In the former part of the book, in al- 
ternate pages, is formed in this short-hand his chapter 
on Moral Sense ; and throughout the book additions 
are made in the same hand to the different subjects. 
These, with another quarto book scribbled over partly 
with what is of use to his Moral Philosophy, and 
partly with other matter, form the greatest part of 
Paley's Moral Philosophy. 

It may not perhaps be uninteresting if we extract, 
in addition to this detail, the first four or five pages 
of his Lecture-book, not because it is peculiar, or 
different from many protographs of many authors, 
but in order that some notion may be formed how 
far his plan was marked out from the first, how he 
set about enlarging his hints into regular sentences, 
and what additional matter he found it necessary to 
introduce for the completion of his subject. The 
corrections are of one complexion*, and in a hand 
which speaks them of a later date, and it may be, the 
first touches towards an enlargement of his plan. 

* These corrections are denoted by the smaller type ; and 
such words as the author had struck out with the pen are here 
printed in italics. 


1. Definition of Moral Philosophy. % Use. 3. Moral 
Approbation. 4. Of Human Happiness. 5. Of Human 

The law of honor is a system of rules constructed by people 
of fashion men in the superior stations of life and calculated 
[solely to profit] society and facilitate their intercourse with 


one another and for no other purpose, consequently no prac- 
tices are adverted to by the law of honor but what tend to 
[molest this society] or incommode this intercourse. 

Hence this law prescribes duties only betwixt equals or 
those which belong to the superior as well as those which 
belong to 

f no breach of it to defraud tradesmen, cruelty to servants 

the inferior 

— uncharitableness to poor — rigour to tenants — neglect of 
worship — profaneness. 

on which account profaneness for example neglect of public 

* fornication — adultery — duelling — drunkenness — prodi- 



Morality Ethics 

Moral Philosophy — [Morality] — Casuistry — Natural 
Law — [Ethics] — mean all the same thing. 

their duty & the reasons 

That science which teaches men [what they are obliged to 
of it 
do and ivhy] — the use of such a study depends upon this 

of life we 

[useful study because] without it the rules that men are or- 

ourselves are apt 

dinarily governed by may oftimes mislead 'em through a 
defect either in the rule or in the application. — These 

Honor Law of the Land and 

rules are either — the Law of Reputation — the Civil Law — 
or the Scriptures — 

Law of Honor C. 2. 
The Law of Reputation ( t Prescribes duties only among 
or Honor V 

favorable to the passions. 


-f* bounty to poor — devotion — forgiveness of injuries — 
education of children — gratitude to benefactors. 
* refusing debts because a minor or if years elapsed con- 
fining debtors — voting partially in elections. 

*f" To deliver particular directions in every case must have 
been more than the statutes at large — which only do so in 

The law never speaks but to command, nor considered but 
where it can compell consequently those and any other duties 
which by their nature must be voluntary one of necessity out 
of the reach of the law as being out of the reach of its au- 

2. The law permits that is suffers to go unpunished many 

crimes as incapable of being defined by any provision 

expensiveness spending 

partiality in voting at elections injustice — concealment of a 

a fortune 

deposit prodigality 

cruelty in procuring cocks for fighting. 

This is the alternative the law must either precisely define 
beforehand and with precision the offences which it punishes 
or leave it to the decision of the magistrate upon each par- 
ticular case whether it constitutes an offence which the law 
undertook to punish which is in effect leaving it to the ma- 
gistrate to punish or not to punish at his pleasure the indi- 
vidual that is brought before him which is just so much 

When therefore as in the instances above mentioned the 
right or wrong of it is intricate or not easy to be defined by 
theframer of the law. 

[Here is a great deal of illegible and blotted matter.] 



-f- omits many duties as not objects of compulsion but must 
be voluntary — 

* permits many vices because it cannot define 'em nor con- 
sequently punish 'em. 
The Scriptures 

f compendious and therefore general consequently assisted 
oftimes in the study in the application. 


Whether the approbation of virtue natural a trifling 
question, because the term virtue includes within its mean- 
ing the idea of approbation. 

Whether the approbation of any particular action or 
quality as gratitude, fidelity be natural a material question. 
When we read or hear of a son's stabbing his father at the 
very instant that father is giving him all he has, we cannot 
help disapproving, condemning, feeling an indignation to 
the man and aversion. 

On the other hand when we hear an instance of gene- 
rosity, humanity, we cannot forbear approving it liking 
the man. 

Question whether this is by any instinct as the sexes are 
impelled to one another or acquired, 
that is whether a savage Peter wild boy would feel these 
sentiments upon learning the stories — for the moral sense 
— that we can [hope] have no interest in it to approve as 
the affair may be transacted in distant ages and countries 
nor can we give any reason that is universal. 

VOL. I, 


the Law of most countries especially of free states than commit 
the liberty of the subject to the humour of a magistrate leave 

in such cases 

men to themselves. 


Whoever expects to find in the Scriptures particular 

looks for more 

directions for any particular case that arises will be dis- 

than he will meet with 



(and to what a magnitude such a detail of precepts would 

have extended the sacred volume may be partly understood 
from these 

The Laws of this country including the acts of the legisla- 
ture admissions of our supreme courts of justice are not con- 
tained in fexver than a hundred volumes, and yet it is not 

time in 

one case out of three that you canfnd in any Law Book the 
case you look for to say nothing of those many points of 

does not 

conduct in which the Law prqfess[es] not to prescribe any 

Had then the same particularity which obtains in human 
Laws so far as they go been attempted in the Scriptures 
throughout the whole extent of morality is manifest they 
would have been much too bulky. 


against the moral sense that it is not universal in some 
countries they think it right to maintain in others to put 
to death their aged parents — in some to expose, in others 
to support their children. 

That the general though not universal approbation of 
particular actions may be explained even in cases where 
we have no interest without the supposition of a moral 

1st. because a great part of those who approve from pre- 
cept authority and a habit of approving acquired from ex- 
ample in our infancy. 

% because having experienced in some instances such an 
action to be beneficial to us, or observed that it would be 
so, a sentiment of approbation rises up, which sentiment 
afterwards accompanies the idea or mention of the action, 
though the private advantage which first excited it be no 
more, the same happens in money. 

L 2 


f now he is happy — that would make one happy — the man 


is happy who has health and complacency — that is a happy 

eating drinking — music — magnificent sights, sports. 

f retiring from business — into convents 

N. B. The young pursue pleasure too much, the old ease. 

f no delight to a shepherd in his superiority over his dog 
— to the farmer in his over the shepherd — to the squire in 
his over the farmer — to the prince in his over the squire— - 
to the second wrangler in his over a senior optime, to a 
senior optime over a lose groat — to a lose groat over his 
bed maker. 

A delight to the shepherd in his superiority in wrestling 
over another shepherd — to the farmer in horses over an- 
other farmer — to the squire in wealth over his neighbour 
squire — to the prince in his superiority of strength over 
another prince. 

* by a peasant of more strength, a blacksmith of more 
skill, a soldier of more courage, a tradesman of more 
wealth, as much as by a prince of more power, a nobleman 
of more interest and splendour, a general of success. 
•f" love of children, relations— -bounty to poor, friendship — 
hence the discontent and peevishness of monks. 



f a relative term 

2 that condition in which the amount of pleasure is greater 
than that of pain — 

does not consist in the abundance of sensual pleasures 

* 1 they only continue for a little [time] at a time 
2 because by frequent repetition they lose their relish 
does not consist in the absence of bodily pain, labour mo- 

f because succeeded by dejection disquietude] thoughts 
does not consist in greatness 

f 1 because the pleasure consists in a superiority only 
over those whom we compare ourselves with may be pos- 
sessed by the meanest * 

with the comparison soon ceases 

2 because the pleasure [consists in a superiority] 

and new competitions arise 


f in the exercise of the social affections. 


■f*. fortune rarely procures happiness — for the want of it 
the weariness and misery of rich men— their engaging 
with so much eagerness in trifling pursuits elections, gaming 
horse racing. 

Morality is taught in Scripture in this wise, general rules 


are laid down of justice benevolence as these do as you would 

forgive as ye would be forgiven and 

be done by — love our neighbour as ourselves the other of St. 

that mercy is better than sacrifice 

Paul at the close of the Epistles these rules are illustrated in 
fictitious examples as the parable of the Samaritan as the 

the praise of 

reproof of the disciples at the Samaritan village or in in- 

the poor widow who cast in 

stances which actually presented themselves the scribe who 

his censure of the Pharisees who chose out the chief rooms 

had found out in that country that to love God and his 

the honest Scribe who had found of tradition 

neighbour were more than whole burnt offerings whereby 
they awarded the command. 

And this is the way in which all the practical sciences 
are taught in arithmetic, navigation grammar and the like 
general rules are laid down and examples are subjoined not 
that these examples are the cases much less all the cases that 
will actually occur but by way only of better explaining the 

rule [and the mode] as so many specimens of the mode of 
applying it* 


f in the hope and pursuit of some object 

health of body 

first consequence of this account that happiness is pretty 

equally distributed among the different conditions of life. 

2 that vicious men have not the advantage over the virtuous. 

the only difference is that the examples are annexed to the 
rules in the didactic manner to which we are accustomed 
but delivered as particular occasions suggested them this 


produced more than the same or any instance would be- 

cause appeared with in their place a system, again the 
Scriptures for the most part presuppose in the persons they 
speak to a knowledge of the principle of natural justice and 
are employed not so much to teach new rules of morality as 


* benevolence prompts a man to support an injured indi- 
vidual—prudence suggests a proper means, fortitude en- 
ables him to go through the danger of loss disgrace repute 
temperance overcomes the love of money ease amusement 
which might divert him from it. 

f a sot a knave a miser an humane man a pious man a 



" The doing good to mankind in obedience to the 
will of God and for the end of everlasting happiness *." 
* anciently divided into benevolence, prudence, fortitude, 
and temperance, benevolence proposes good ends, pru- 
dence suggests the best means of pursuing ends, fortitude 
enables us to encounter the difficulties and conquer the 
discouragements that stand in the way, and temperance 
repells and overcomes the passions that obstruct it. more 
modern divisions into 

Duties towards God — prayer thanksgiving worship rever- 
ence towards ourselves chastity sobriety temperance care 
of health caution towards other men justice charity in- 
dustry loyalty. 

Ob: 1 

f That men must ought to be governed by habit rather 

than reason in most of their actions. - 

1 because in many cases there is no time to reason 

& because he who reasons under the byass of a temptation 

is sure to err. 

*I find in a Sermon, dated Appleby, 1779, this sentence: 
" Now I describe virtue to be the doing good to mankind in obe- 
dience to the will of God, for the sake of everlasting happiness." 
The text is, « Add to your faith virtue." Ed. 


f relieving beggars— attending stated seasons of public 
or private worship — abstaining from lying in different 

additional superior 

enforce the practice of it by more and higher sanction which 

bringing and 

seems indeed to be the proper design of a revelation from 

what is most wanted 

God thus the unjust covenant breakers and extortioners are 

where it 

condemned in Scripture supposing it to be known or leaving 

admits of doubt 

it to moralists to determine what injustice [extortion] injus- 
tice extortion breach qf covenant is 

The above considerations are intended to prove that the 

Scriptures do not supersede the study qf the science qf 
which we profess to treat and to acquit them qf any charge 


qf insufficiency on that account. 


Now the question is whether if this story were related to 
Peter the wild boy who was caught in the woods of Hanover 

without experience or instruction of all intercourse 

or to a savage separated from the rest of his species and 

deprived under no possible 

consequently free from the influence qf example authority 
Phil 2 9. 1 Cor. 10. Bom. 1. 31. 


Hence arise 2 rules 
* 1st. that many things are to be done for the sake [of] 
only of habits 

2 That morality chiefly consists in watching habits, re- 
pressing bad and generating good ones. 

Obs. % 

That neither reason nor scripture have or could ascer- 
tain the exact quantity of innocence or virtue necessary to 
salvation but that we may collect from both that there is 
no salvation 

1st. to those who are conscious of no other rule to go by 
than convenience or passion — 

2d. to those who indulge themselves habitually and with- 
out reluctance in any one crime — 

Obs: 3d. 

When one side doubtful the other clear always bound 
to take the safe side and course 

Rom. 14. 


education wliether I say such man would feel upon the rela- 

any degree 

tion that sentiment of disapprobation of the conduct which 
we feel or no — 

Then follows what is said in the Moral Philosophy in 
the chapter on Moral Sense, which is mixed up with 
Bounty, Charity, &c. But there is no appearance of any 
story from Valerii^Maximus, nor is it clear what the word 
is which ought to be inserted before Conduct. It is cer- 
tainly not Toranius, as it now stands. 

Of Politics, the whole appears in his Lectures in the fol- 
lowing : — 

* Abraham. Jacob. 

f Greece— Italy— -Gaul— Britain— America— Judea. 




from iroXis science of every [kind] relating to society. 

Cap. 1. 

Government at first either + domestic or military of a 
parent over his family or a general over his fellow soldiers. 

Parental authority the foundation of civil for when 
children had been accustomed in their childhood to follow 
their parents directions and refer their differences to him 
when they grew up they would continue to do the same 
for who each would say so fit to direct and decide as [they] 
he — after his death would remain connected and fall under 
some successor of his appointment or otherwise elected — 
after which conquest accidental coalition common distress 
and other [means] reasons might extend the numbers and 
possessions of this small community. 

Military authority the foundation of civil — in defence 
or war manifest necessity prompted those on the same 
side to put themselves under one leader which leader 
would retain in part his preeminence and authority after 
they returned to peace 

f most countries at first occupied by many small inde- 
pendent governments. 


f some millions of stout strong men in many states obey 
the will of a child a woman a fool a madman. 

f right of primogeniture to tolls — to titles honour estates 
J to uphold which princes have sometimes derived their 
extraction from Gods as Romulus and Saxon Princes or 
pretended a communication with 'em as Numa or to be the 
successors of those who had as the Sultan of Mahomet, 
Pope of St. Peter 

hence also the sacred efficacy of anointing the titles of 
Gods vicegerent 

* Persians had a custom upon the death of their king to 
live 5 days without law or government that finding by ex- 
perience the miserable effects of anarchy the slaughter 
rapine and confusion that accompanied such a condition 
they might be engaged in a firmer allegiance to their 
future sovereigns. 

-f As in a crowd or play house when men are taken up 
with the exhibition they think not of pushing forwards or, 
changing their situation. 


Cap % 
* How is submission secured when the strength is in the 
governed ? 

Men do not all obey from the same motive [s] yet each 
class and character of citizens have sufficient though dif- 
ferent inducements to obey. 

Three classes of subjects. 

1. Those who act from prejudice 

2, Those who act from reason 

3 Those who act from self-interest 

Those who act from prejudice determined by an opinion 

of right in the governors founded on ancient prescription 

f the opinion strengthened by observing that prescription 

conveys the right to almost all other things 

J or by a notion of sanctity in the person of the Prince 

called opinion of right 

* Those who act from reason determined by the necessity 
of some government or other the certain mischief of a civil 
disturbance and the danger of resettling it better or act ill 
if once disturbed. 

f Those who act from self-interest by want of leisure— 
by the sense of ease plenty and safety he enjoys — by fear 


f Cromwell advised* to assume the title of king, hence 
many things retained rather than break the custom. 

f Revolution broke the custom of succession and thereby 
abated the opinion of the right inheritance both in king 
and people — Elections in order to be free must not devolve 
for many times together upon persons of the same family 
or office 

* Weavers Sailors Coalheavers Miners — -are connected by 
their profession 


foreseeing he would by any attempt bring himself into a 
worse situation than his present as the strength of govern- 
ments is greater than his own and he knows not that others 
will join him — 

called opinion of power 

1st Consequence 

f As custom begets an opinion of right and that opinion is 
one support of government every change of custom and 
constitution diminishes the stability of government. 
2 Consequence 

f when the opinion of right is too predominant and super- 
stitious it is abated by breaking the custom 

S consequence 

As ignorance of Union is a great support of government 
to take care to keep up this ignorance. 

* by dispersing and preventing great collections of men 
from conferring or combining together 
2 by guarding against riots which produce in the riotous 
confidence engagements and assurances of assistance so 
that on a future occasion they can depend on one another 

VOL. i. M 


It is unnecessary to say more at large, both be- 
cause it has often been said before, and because it is 
inconsistent with the design of this Life to repeat, 
that much was offered at the time for and against the 
system of Expediency in general, and on the parti- 
cular deductions from it. Were it indeed admis- 
sible to express an opinion of some of the opposition 
which offered itself on this occasion, yet as he himself 
has been very frequently heard to say, that he would 
never answer any thing that appeared against him, 
for time would do that for him, it ought perhaps to 
be more the concern of the present writer to imitate 
such an example, than to be anxious about his defence. 
Time has already had a fair chance of strengthening 
or pulling down many such systems. 

There are, however, a few circumstances connected 
with this work which may be worth observation in this 
place, as well as some obvious and almost personal 
marks of the author to be found in the style and 
manner of the writing ; in recollecting and presenting 
which " quis desiderio sit pudor /" 

His motives, indeed, for such silence are, like 
many other things, left to conjecture. It may be 
generally said that no man was better able, and few 
could feel more willing, to take in all the probable 
advantages as well as disadvantages of any particular 
conduct, or was more in the habit of weighing his 
motives before he acted on them. He seemed well 
persuaded, too, that there was a possibility of being 
misunderstood or misrepresented on any subject; and 


though by no means careless of public opinion, yet on 
a subject evidently calculated for so much discussion, 
it is easy to rest assured of the propriety of his silence, 
because it is easy to see that controversy would have 
proved useless. But from the general tenor of his 
conduct there is reason to suppose that there was 
more than a hopelessness of working conviction by 
argument, more than a consciousness of the two 
handles and two appearances of every subject to dif- 
ferent minds, more than a feeling of risk lest he 
should lose, by repeated attempts at clearing away 
obstruction, what would have been won without any 
such attempts. There was a decided aversion to 
speak, to write, or act with a sole reference to him- 
self; not that it was necessarily to be reduced to a 
personal controversy, but there was a delicacy which 
was averse to appearing too much interested in his own 
views, in which his ardent mind, committing itself 
to the unreserved licence of controversy, could not 
but have appeared. There was besides a very strong 
dislike to the disturbance and disquietude of contend- 
ing about any thing, whatever may have been said 
either on any other occasion or on this subject, either 
by himself or by others, of the JIatness of a peaceable 
life*. He was as unwilling to have any acrimony 
felt towards himself, as he was to feel it towards 

* I believe the anecdote related by Meadley as having taken 
place at one of the bishop of Durham's public dinners, but do not 
see much propriety in introducing it. — Ed. 

M 2 


others, and was as ready to show by his deportment 
the " cut bono 9 ' of such eagerness, as by his counte- 
nance he was ready to express his disapprobation of any 
thing like animosity. These are reasons sufficient to 
determine him to have no unnecessary discussion 
about any of his works. He had no personal ac- 
quaintance with Mr. Gisborne, his first and appa- 
rently his most direct antipode, for he has still fol- 
lowed his course in writing without the least apparent 
approximation either in matter or manner ; but was 
much pleased by that gentleman's courtesy in send- 
ing him from time to time his various works ; and as 
Mr. Gisborne's name appears in the list of those to 
whom he presented his future works, it is probable 
that nothing like ungentleness or soreness appeared 
on either side ; nothing passed but a few reciprocal 
animadversions, if " the reciprocity was not all on one 
side." Mr. Gisborne's objections to the system are 
shortly, but ably answered in the volume of the Public 
Characters, to which an appeal has so often been 
made ; but there is no original observation whatever 
made upon it in other parts of that work. " It must be 
obvious," he (Mr. Gisborne) asserts, " that the prin- 
ciple of general expediency, as applied by Dr. Paley, 
will lead to innumerable conclusions contradicting 
the express commands of God, and that it cannot 
therefore be adopted by any one who allows the au- 
thority of the Scriptures. Now Dr. Paley, in stating 
the use of moral philosophy, informs us, that its 
object is to supply information on those points which 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 165 

the Scriptures have left undecided ; — that it is to be 
silent when the Scriptures speak, and speak when they 
are silent # . Mr. Gisborne insists very much on Dr. 
Paley's having proved from his principle, that assassin- 
ation, robbery, and perjury are unlawful, and totally 
overlooks or mistakes the nature of his argument. 
He supposes some one to object to his principles, that 
it permits these crimes. To destroy these objections, 
he proves that their unlawfulness may be clearly de- 
duced from it. If he meant to offer the conclusion 
to which it conducts us, as superior in authority to 
the rules of Scripture, he was guilty of an absurdity 

* In a Sermon on " The Distinction of Orders in the Church, 
defended on Principles of Public Utility/' preached at the conse- 
cration of his friend, Dr. Law, the bishop of Clonfert, in 1 782, is 
the following sentence, which seems to recognise the same senti- 
ment which is here given, — not to say that such apologetic senti- 
ments must have come under Dr. Paley's notice : " Though all 
things are lawful, all things are not expedient. If we concede to 
other Christian churches the legality of their institutions so long 
as Christian worship and instruction are competently provided for, 
we may be allowed to maintain the advantage of our own, upon 
principles which all acknowledge considerations of public utility. 
Here the doctrine of Expediency is clearly supported in the 
writer's own mind by St. Paul's authority, and by the deduction 
which he draws from the founder of our religion j which, he before 
observes, seems negligent of any view but what related to the de- 
liverance of mankind from spiritual perdition, and advanced no 
pretensions which, by disturbing the arrangements of human 
polity, might present an obstacle to the reception of his faith. 
Christianity may be professed under any form of church govern- 

166 LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 

in reasoning which no one will be willing to impute 
to him. For on what is the principle established ? 
On this, that its application will lead us by an excel- 
lent, but from the imperfection of our faculties, an 
imperfect way, to the will of God. Could he, there- 
fore, without glaring contradiction, recommend the 
deduction from it as obligatory, precedent to the 
morality of the Scriptures — which he has allowed to 
be declaratory of the will of God?" 

Admitting, with Gisborne and Pearson, and even 
some who, upon the whole, are favourable to the 
system, that the difficulty of estimating consequences 
is an object of the most weight, and that general ex- 
pediency is an instrument that cannot be wielded by 
a mortal hand, therefore that it is little worth ex- 
posing the fallacy of any objection grounded upon 
that, as this anonymous writer does with sufficient 
satisfaction, — still it seems impossible not to be struck 
with the want of application, the looseness and gene- 
rality of the objections brought against the doctrine 
of expediency, thus stated, which might seem to serve 
as much for heathen philosophy as for a Christian 
writer. Names are easily given, and when given, are 
easily run away with j and particularly when these 
names lead us to review with any degree of jealousy our 
own favourite opinions, we readily imagine ourselves 
called upon to defend the one without directly attend- 
ing to the way in which it is attacked, or to question 
whether it is attacked at all. It seems to have been 
apprehended by many who know little of the rule of 


consequences, except that such rules may be adopted 
by those who do not live under a Christian revela- 
tion, that the doctrine of expediency was too favour- 
able to the pride of human reason, and that to set up 
any system on no other foundation was virtually to 
reject the doctrine, or at least disparage the glory of 
revelation ; and thus the very title of " general expe- 
diency" becomes the watch-word of a party and the 
criterion of opinion. " There are two principles by 
which men usually regulate their conduct in private 
or public life," says a most benevolent and practical 
and useful living author — " the one built upon Poli- 
tical Expediency, the other upon Morality and Re- 
ligion : the one looks almost wholly at the conse- 
quences of things, the other looks singly at duty *." — 
And supposing this rule to prevail even in politics, or 
in the acquirement of statistical knowledge, it will 
go a long way towards introducing a jealousy of any 
system built upon expediency. Still this only speaks 
for the danger of being led astray by names and ap- 
pearances, and not at all for the unsoundness of any 
particular system. However, not only as an inge- 
nious and pleasing and useful work, but as a book 
forming a sort of standard of modern practical mo- 
rality, it has been pretty generally adopted at this 
day in one of our universities, and partially in the 
other. This is the best proof that there is no in- 
herent danger in the system of expediency to revealed 

* Clarkson's Life of Penn. 


religion, and leaves little for the friends of the author 
to wonder at in the silence and contented sort of 
satisfaction which he seemed to feel under all the 
attacks against his work. His opponents seemed to 
enjoy with perfect complacency their own refutation 
of what was to continue unconscious of attack, and 
he anticipated the surprise which they would feel 
when they should discover that all their labour had 
only conducted them to a point where they could see 
more clearly how much they had missed their way. 

There is, indeed, one insinuation respecting this 
work held out in the Life of the Bishop of Elphin *, 
which, as there is authority for so doing never before 
made public, it may somewhat concern the memory 
both of that prelate and of Dr. Paley to repel. It is 
said that " there is a high degree of probability that 
the obligations which the latter had to the former of 
these eminent men were increased by his (the Bishop 
of Elphin) having contributed some of those admira- 
ble chapters which shine out amidst the excellence 
with which they are surrounded, and form the prin- 
cipal ornaments of the book." To this is added in 
the margin, by Dr. Paley, " No." " —Thus far is 
certain, that all who are conversant with its history 
entertain the persuasion that some parts of it pro- 
ceeded from the pen of Dr. Law." Here is added 
" No." " Mr. Howard f, the person whose character 

* Public Characters for 1802. 

+ It seems scarcely worth notice, that this same Howard, who 
was certainly employed in copying parts of the Moral Philosophy 


has there been brought forward, used to declare that 
he copied a manuscript of Dr. Law which appears in 
the work. — The chapter on reverencing the Deity, 
in the second volume, has generally been ascribed to 
him." Here occurs, " Utterly without foundation." 
After determining that a marked and happy devia- 
tion from Dr. Paley's general manner is obvious in 
the following passage (here is inserted a paragraph 
in the chapter,) the article then goes on to say — 
" What other chapters of the Moral and Political 
Philosophy, in addition to that on reverencing the 
Deity, are to be ascribed to Dr. Law, the writer of 
this article will not venture to determine ;" and in the 
margin is inserted in the same hand-writing, " The 
whole of these observations entirely unfounded." — 
Few can read his works without being struck with 
the constant recurrence of mirth and wit, and play- 
fulness and liveliness, and many other qualities which 
render the perusal of them at once light and fasci- 
nating ; but to those who are intimately acquainted 
with the writer, these qualities become much more 
interesting from having formed so conspicuous a fea- 
ture of his mind, and from bringing to paper his very 
manner of conversation and private intercourse. In- 
dependent, however, of this association, which may 

for the bookseller, was, though of that low rank of life which 
not unfrequently affords instances of such eccentricity, a most 
ingenious schoolmaster, but a most profligate character — such, 
however, as would but badly suffice for authority. 


unconsciously mislead any interested party in judging 
of the opinion of others, there are some peculiarities 
which are likely to form almost inimitable charac- 
teristics of his writing. Perspicuity, ease, familiarity 
with his subject, a readiness to familiarise his subject 
to his reader, deep and solid reasoning, which seldom 
leaves the mind unsatisfied, though often much sur- 
prised on the first annunciation of his propositions, are 
all not peculiar to his writings ; but the boldness of 
his bursts, the closeness of his applications, the clear- 
ness and order with which he draws them to his 
point, the suitableness though homeliness of his illus- 
trations, the strength by which he is enabled to sup- 
port such homeliness, and prevent it from ever dege- 
nerating into the ludicrous ; the perfect independence 
on, or heedlessness of, all other writers, the apparent 
freedom from suspicion and disguise, the total want 
of a regular style and way in which some of his sen- 
tences are decorated and polished, together with the 
odd construction of others, — seem to be without any 
equal, or even rival in literature. 

His illustrations, like his wit, seem often to come 
by flashes, and like his wit are but ill-governed by 
discretion or prudence, but flow from the natural 
tendency of his mind to an unreserved and unsuspect- 
ing bluntness and boldness. His ardour of spirit, 
and his contempt of rooting^ caused him often to be 
charged with, and to be liable to the charge of im- 
prudence, in giving so many home-thrusts which 


might not be relished in the same spirit with which 
they were given. 

His great powers of observation and penetration 
enabled him to give those bold and hard strokes by 
which he made his subject his own. They led him 
not only to discern the point and gist of an argu- 
ment, and the grand desiderata of the subject, but 
to observe the course of his own mind in working its 
way among the minor parts, and bringing out the 
substance of a work from the mystery which the 
artifice or confusion of the writer had thrown around 
it. He adapts his own large grasp of a subject to 
the more ordinary train of knowledge, and the most 
general state of men's minds. Instead of giving scope 
to his own views without taking the reader's mind 
along with him, he seems continually and at every 
turn to retrace or recollect the steps by which he 
himself arrived at such a conclusion ; and as he had 
found himself best convinced by drawing his doubts 
and reasonings to a point, so he drives directly at the 
point and no more, from his setting out to the end of 
his reasoning upon it. 

It is well observed, " that no man ever abused learn- 
ing less, or was less the dupe of learning # ." He was 
in character perfectly simple, unaffected, and single- 
minded, and carried these qualities to his writings. 
For the fudge and mysticism of learning he had 
a great contempt. Any disguise or affectation of 

* Appendix A. to Meadley. 

172 LIFE OF Bit. PALEY. 

knowledge, in any point whatever, used to meet with 
his keenest satire. He was even intolerant towards 
any appearance of pedantry, or towards those who 
took upon them more than they were able to stand 
to. To borrow a most applicable sentence, " He 
never forgot the use of his understanding, nor was 
solicitous to show what he knew more than what he 
thought. He never reasoned from memory, or spoke 
from quotation # ." "Wherever settled, or however 
employed, it was impossible for him not to observe or 
reflect; with such internal resources he wanted no 
library f." 

He builds surely, because he considers well the 
foundation, but he builds no more upon it than it 
will bear. He seems to have known, by a close exa- 
mination of the workings of his own mind, how much 
the attention was fatigued by multiplying proof, and 
how much intricacy is avoided by adhering to one 
point — how much, in short, simplicity of design adds 
to perspicuity, and ensures a reader's attention \ he 
therefore rarely attempts more than will bring his 
subject down to the level of an ordinary comprehen- 
sion. When it might seem to require whole tomes of 
divinity to treat of the Evidences of Christianity — 
when others would, perhaps, have consulted volume 
upon volume, to give a connected view of Moral Phi- 
losophy with any satisfaction to themselves or their 
readers, or as such a mind might be expected to 

* Edinburgh Review, No. 70. t Quarterly Review. 


entertain such a subject, he goes to work in a dif- 
ferent way. Christianity is treated as it would offer 
itself to the illiterate fishermen, or the ignorant na- 
tural man. Moral Philosophy is brought to the level 
of common sense. The writings of St. Paul are no- 
ticed as speaking to ordinary capacities, with reason- 
ings and deductions obvious to the generality of 
minds. Nor is it in his writings only that he seems 
to have been an advocate for common sense ; in all 
his actions as well as speculations he made that his 
great standard, before he allowed himself to adopt 
any opinion, " retinuitque, quod est difficilimum ex 
sapientid modum." 

In one of his sermons before the university, he 
says, " In our wishes to convince, we are extremely 
apt to overdo our arguments." He seldom made too 
much use of any one proof, but seems rather to reserve 
a volume of proof for an inferior purpose. There 
are, indeed, one or two favourite sentiments which 
are to be found in more places and works than one : 
these, as the produce of much deliberation, or of some 
happy hit, he uses as occasion arises ; but he never 
seems to introduce a reflection or an argument for 
the sake of dwelling upon it, or drawing more from 
it than the one conclusion he aimed at. Inferences 
or corollaries seem not to claim any part of his atten- 
tion, but he leaves his reader to draw them for him- 
self, not suffering himself to doubt that he is fully 
equal to the writer. 

His candour and liberality are apparent in what is 


called by his biographers and others his inconsistency, 
equivocation, casuistry. The allowances that he made 
to every position, viz. that it might be otherwise, were 
carried so far that, however incompatible with the 
general tendency of his mind, that view sometimes 
seems to approach towards vacillation or paradox, 
which is only the produce of a different train of rea- 
soning, or a different way of handling a subject. 

His style may be the strongest expression of his 
mind — strong, nervous, unvarnished, easily rising 
into dignity or pathos, though seldom put to such 
uses, it has not a word too much, nor scarcely an ex- 
pression or term that would be improved by changing ; 
yet it is so easy, so natural, so original, so charac- 
teristic of the writer, that though it is unlike most 
other styles, it serves as no other would do, to convey 
his peculiar sentiments in a most substantial manner. 
It is by a comparison, whimsical enough, ^represented 
in the Quarterly Review to be formed on the model 
of Johnson. Nothing can surely be farther from the 
characteristic of the two writers as to general style. 
It may be observed from the specimens given in this 
place, as well as afterwards, that the same strong and 
substantial, and rather opinionated way of expressing 
himself, seems to have adhered to him from the first 
commencement of his public duties to the last. His 
public lectures, as well as his early sermons, are full 
of the same sort of commanding positive strain, which 
may bear some resemblance to Johnson, but is not 
uncommonly assorted with superior talents. The 


homeliness of his style, indeed, might depend upon 
the circumstances which called him forth as a writer; 
but much of the familiar and unpolished air which his 
writings assume was probably contracted from his 
habit of communicating instruction by conversation 
to his pupils, and afterwards to his parishioners, — to 
whose minds he found the readiest access by a still 
plainer treatment of his subject ; and thus, having been 
used to commit his thoughts to paper in this way, he 
thought no longer of ornament or embellishment. So 
much of it as was acquired (and no doubt a good 
deal must have been acquired by the very demand for 
it, and by its running in the same peculiar course 
through the whole of his writings), seems to have 
been gained from his unwillingness to hide any of 
the workings of his mind ; from a frankness in show- 
ing all the ways by which he caught his thoughts, by 
a reluctance to keep his readers at a distance in order 
to gain credit for any great or shining qualities of 
genius. He seems to have embraced a sentiment and 
turned it over till he gained such an expression for it 
as he himself felt would convey his meaning, without 
giving himself much farther trouble about the arrange- 
ment of his words. Every sentence is sure to contain 
some substance which the reader has no difficulty in 
applying, and some substance which cannot be dis- 
pensed with, and so cannot be omitted or guessed at. 
He is rarely led, in the course of expressing one con- 
ception, to wander into a kindred suggestion, like a 
dreamer or a driveller. Matter of fact is his aim ; and 


he seems to bind himself in one straight-forward 
course, by a constant recollection of and recurrence 
to his subject. He never makes a sacrifice to style, 
nor ever courts smoothness, or avoids roughness, to 
obtain a more refined mode of expression. He ap- 
pears to be careful, in the first place, to form a habit 
of thinking and reasoning correctly, and then trusts 
to his natural faculties for conveying his thoughts to 
others. From his constant habit of noting down 
occasional and detached sentiments, his language was 
likely to be full of breaks, and from the hardness, 
and decision, and pointedness of his ways of thinking, 
equally subject to knots, roughnesses, and uneven- 
nesses ; but these are seldom felt by the reader, be- 
cause the sentiments tell to his entire satisfaction. 
Not the least conspicuous quality of his mind and 
heart is, a perfect freedom from any high opinion of 
his own powers. Few are likely to be disgusted with 
his works from their assuming a dictatorial tone, or 
breathing an air of superiority ; though few works are 
so full of little allusions to the author and his opi- 
nions, yet the artlessness of such allusions is so imme- 
diately apparent, that it dwells not on the reader's 

This seems a proper place to mention, that from 
some circumstances which took place about the time 
of publishing the Moral Philosophy, it is fair to con- 
clude that he had little notion of estimating his own 
powers previous to that period. He could not indeed 
be ignorant of his own abilities, and therefore it would 

LtFE OF Dil. PALEY. 177 

be only an oblique praise to lower them for him ; but 
he seems not to have guessed at the reception which 
his works would meet with, and at best to have been 
much surprised and gratified at finding they ranked 
so high. The sudden rise of his powers in his own 
opinion is, perhaps, to be dated from the appearance 
of this work, and his first consciousness of public con- 
sequence to the great eagerness and demand for these 
volumes. It will be shown, in speaking of some of 
his future works, what was his opinion at a more ad- 
vanced stage of literary reputation ; at present it will 
be a sufficient indication that it was not very high, if 
we observe that on his own negotiation with a book- 
seller in London, who was recommended to him at 
first by being concerned with the writings of the 
bishop of Carlisle, he would have concluded a bargain 
for two or three hundred pounds, had not his friend, 
then bishop, of Clonfert, undertaken the management 
of it for him, and refused the offer till he should con- 
sult an eminent bookseller in Dublin. Meantime, 
Milliken, a bookseller in Carlisle, came forward in 
the name of this very Dublin bookseller, and offered 
£1000 for it. This offer was forwarded to the bishop 
in London, and would have been closed with at once, 
had not Mr. Paley wished to make the same proposal 
to the former bookseller in London. Without much 
scruple, though with considerable surprise at the en- 
largement of the speculation, he closed with the terms 
immediately. This let Mr. Paley into the secret of 
his own worth j for, on mentioning the circumstance 

VOL. I. n 


to some of his family afterwards, " Little," says he, 
" did I ever think of making a thousand pounds by 
any work of mine !" The demand for it, however, 
as well as for his future works, gave neither him nor 
his bookseller any cause for dissatisfaction # ; nor had 
he to wait for proposals on other occasions, but for 
his future publications made his own, and they were 

But it is time to return from the work to the 
author, who, during this digression, is left at Ap- 

The account of his preferments, and the various 
movements to which he was subject in consequence, 
uninteresting as they may be to the general reader, 
are given with sufficient accuracy t. Nor are they in 
fact necessary to be detailed, except as connected 
with some interesting points of his character, and as 
showing that the same mind and principles accompa- 
nied him through all his situations, though under 
improved circumstances. Much of what is now to be 
given rests upon what could scarcely be known out 
of his own family. The policy of patronage is not 
often made public, and it is only the distance of time, 
and the unconcern of all parties, that make the enter- 
tainment cheap at the price of so little indiscretion. 

After holding the living of Appleby for about three 
years, he gave it up to enable the bishop to provide 

* I have now before me the twenty-first edition, dated 1814. 

t Meadley and Chalmers. 


for a relation, and went to reside at Dalston j with an 
understanding, however, that he should soon be pro- 
vided for by a more dignified station in the Cathe- 
dral at Carlisle. At the vicarage-house of Dalston 
it was necessary to make improvements, and altera- 
tions, and additions, and he therefore began, as he 
used to say, " adding to the dignity of its appear- 
ance;"and commenced farmer, by taking about twenty 
acres of glebe into his own hands. In this concern it 
was that he soon became a bankrupt, according to his 
own account, related by Meadley, but to what extent 
may be conjectured. In less than six months a pre- 
bendal stall became vacant, which he was informed of 
by his friend the archdeacon, who happened to be at 
Rose at the time, in the following short but good- 
humoured easy way : — * If you mean to have this, 
come here directly, for my father is old and weak, 
and there is an eager applicant for it now in the 
house." It is probable, however, that the archdea- 
con's injunction was useless ; for, without the shadow 
of a demur, or any solicitation from Mr. Paley him- 
self, he became forthwith the fourth prebendary of 
Carlisle, about the same time at which he vacated 
Appleby. He soon after divided his residence be- 
tween this city and his living of Dalston, which was 
only four miles distant, and three from Rose, where 
he still' had much concern and more interest than in 
any other object, in his capacity of chaplain. 

About two years after this, in consequence of some 
important services rendered to the Duke of Portland 

N 2 


fifteen or twenty years before by a clergyman in 
Cumberland (it is said, by his deciphering some old 
English manuscripts or inscriptions, which had puz- 
zled many antiquarians, in order to prove the Duke's 
claim to some disputed property), his grace very ho- 
nourably wished to return the favour by being of 
service to him ; yet from that clergyman's station, as 
well as from some eccentricities, passable enough in a 
character compounded strangely of much strong and 
original genius, and a temper irritable to an excess 
on trifles, he was unsuitable for the bench of bishops, 
in the filling of which the Duke of Portland, as Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland, had then considerable sway. 
The bishopric of Clonfert happened to be at this 
time, 1782, vacant. The son of the bishop of Car- 
lisle, who was archdeacon, than whom a more proper 
person both in station, character, and principle could 
not have been pitched upon, was elevated to the Irish 
bench of bishops; and, in consequence, the Duke of 
Portland had an opportunity of making this clergy- 
man a prebendary of Carlisle. It is stated in the 
Public Characters, that a promise was required from 
the bishop of Carlisle, of the greater part of what he 
held, for a person on whom the Duke of Portland, 
the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, wished to bestow it. 
But that this was wholly unnecessary may be well 
understood by any one acquainted with the general 
etiquette of patronage. That the insinuation is un- 
founded, and that no stipulation of the kind was either 
made or required, may be fairly presumed from its 

LIFE OF Dll. TALEY. 181 

being contradicted in the margin by a decided " No £ 
which was not very likely to appear there without a 
full knowledge of the circumstance. On the other 
hand, in consequence of this change in the chapter, 
the archdeaconry was reserved for the bishop himself 
to give away, who conferred it on Mr. Paley. It is 
no part of the archdeacon's duty to superintend the 
affairs of the clergy in the diocese of Carlisle, as is 
the case in most other places, but that care devolves 
upon the chancellor altogether ; so that this could 
not be looked upon in any other light than an addi- 
tion, and that a small one, to his other preferments. 
The small living of Salkeld is annexed to it. This 
was the highest title he ever added to his name, and 
he even continued to be known by the title of Arch- 
deacon Paley, long after his claim to it had ceased. 
Indeed whether from his easiness and liberality in 
transacting his own money concerns (for though he 
was most minute and particular in his knowledge 
about money, in his dealings and transactions with 
others he was eminently liberal), or from the real and 
almost proverbial low estate of the Cumberland livings, 
at that time, it was only during the latter part of his 
residence in Cumberland that he cleared so much as 
an income of ^500 from all his preferments. 

Three years after this he was advanced to the 
highest ecclesiastical station with which the bishop 
of Carlisle had any concern, by being appointed chan- 
cellor of the diocese. In rank it is generally held to 
be inferior to the archdeaconry in that see as well as 


in others, and perhaps in value, but in duties it is 
much more important, and as such it was always con- 
sidered by him. That he was marked out for it some 
time before may be collected from the following piece 
of private history: — Dr. Burn, the late chancellor, 
had offered to resign the situation in favour of Mr. 
Paley, on finding that " those powers and assistance 
which he invariably devoted to the service of his cle- 
rical brethren* were fast declining, but wished to 
compromise that he might retain the usual emolu- 
ment." The bishop's declining health made his son, 
Dr. Law, very urgent with Mr. Paley, that he should 
undertake the office during his father's life, but he 
refused to have any thing to do with it, till it came 
fairly and freely to his acceptance. When it became 
vacant, by Dr. Burn's death, the bishop of Carlisle 
was so ill, that Mr. Paley thought it impossible to 
get the necessary instruments passed through the 
Register-office, while his patron's danger was suf- 
ficiently distant to make his acceptance of it respect- 
able. By the unexpected exertions, however, of the 
registrar, who was his wife's relation, and whom from 
his age and testiness it was considered impracticable 
to hasten, at twelve o'clock at night the papers were 
made out. They were signed in due course, and 
were made still more welcome by the bishop's re- 
covery. The death of that most respectable and 
amiable prelate took place about two years after this. 

* These are Mr. Paley's own words. 


Of his constant exertions and steady zeal in his favour 
Mr. Paley professed a most just and impartial sense, 
knowing as he did, that the very friendship and almost 
cordiality with which he was treated by him, sprung 
from the purest motives of public good, and were in- 
tended, upon that principle only, to promote the in- 
terest of his diocese. A circumstance which occurred 
on the bishop's death was frequently noticed by Mr. 
Paley, with a constant reflection upon the indecent 
gaping and manoeuvring, as well as the system of 
espionage, which is thought allowable, or which is 
not unusually practised in almost all families. Of all 
others perhaps the lot of the clerical body, which 
might, one would suppose, be more detached from 
worldly motives, is least exempt from this piteous 
condition. It is hard that no one, from an arch- 
bishop to a curate, or if it be not to carry it too far, 
to the parish clerk, can pass off the stage of life 
without a conviction, that however he may rouse the 
interest, he will scarcely engage the finer feelings of 
his expectant brethren ! His son, the late Lord 
Ellenborough, was at that time engaged in the as- 
sizes at Carlisle, and his father's death being on that 
morning hourly expected, a horse was kept saddled 
in the stables at Rose castle, for the immediate de- 
spatch of a messenger to inform him of the event. 
When the messenger arrived in Carlisle, he found 
that not all his haste and preparation had prevented 
the news getting there before him ; an expecting 
applicant had already set off from Carlisle to his 


patron, to sue for his assistance in procuring him the 
bishoprick. Those only might regulate such eager- 
ness, who dispense pieces of preferment ; but, if not 
conscious of such hastiness themselves, they are pro- 
bably not unconscious that many others have the 
same feelings towards them. 

On these successive elevations, which took place 
from the year 1780 to the year 1785, his sphere of 
action became gradually enlarged. He was looked upon 
from this time as a resident in Carlisle, and considered 
himself so far stationary in that city, as to become 
much interested in its society. Before his family in- 
creased, he lived out of the precincts of the cathedral ; 
but afterwards he enlarged his prebendal house by a 
very considerable addition, during which time he lived 
in the deanery, and soon removed into the abbey. 
Carlisle was at that time rather distinguished as a 
place of resort for those who seek and who lay them- 
selves out for agreeable intercourse. It was then a 
quiet place in comparison with its present state of 
bustle. It was much less crowded with a manufac- 
turing population, and less opened to commercial 
speculations. It had been, as it now is, a principal 
place of interest on the west side of the north of 
England, as an ancient and border city. The coun- 
ties of Cumberland and Westmoreland were at that 
time divided in interest between two eccentric noble- 
men, who left very little room for a third or inde- 
pendent party ; but for this reason its races, its elec- 
tions and assizes, excited perhaps more interest, and 


were made more the tests of political ascendancy than 
they do at present. In other respects it might be 
called a place suitable enough for a busy sort of re- 
tirement, and contained within it a circle of enlight- 
ened and well informed gentry. The church added 
much to the general stock of agreeable society ; and 
though in a less monied way than that establishment 
now allows of, was no less united and active amongst 
the rest of the inhabitants. This being the state of 
the place, it was a residence well suited for a man of 
Dr. Paley's habits and talents for active life. His 
first business seems to have been to get himself fairly 
poised between a private individual, and one holding 
a responsible situation in life ; but he was so averse 
from pushing himself into or courting notice, that he 
was more known in private circles during the whole 
of his abode at Carlisle, than as a public character. 
He was too accurate a discerner of the " tanti" of 
life to overstep his station. As an agreeable com- 
panion, a well informed scholar, and a useful member 
of the church, he is remembered with very kindly 
feelings by those who knew no more of him. His 
first object was his public concerns, which never for 
a moment were out of his view. Archdeacon and 
chancellor, as well as prebendary of the church, he 
had, as it is natural to suppose, a strong interest in 
the affairs of the cathedral and the clergy; yet it 
does not appear that he was so much concerned in 
the business of the chapter or the regulations of the 
cathedral, as about the general management of the 


establishment in the diocese. He was careful to keep 
up and promote, as far as he could, the proprieties of 
both. He was long the only active member of the 
chapter constantly resident in Carlisle ; for though 
the prebendary before alluded to had no other re- 
sidence, he scarcely could be understood either to mix 
or agree with the other members of the chapter. Dr. 
Paley rarely preached in the cathedral more than 
his turn, because it fell into the office of lecturer to 
supply any sermons that were wanting. He seemed 
to prefer his own little country church and well known 
flock to a more promiscuous and more elegant con- 
gregation. One character of his sermons which may 
make his style and manner of preaching more intel- 
ligible, may be added to what has been already given, 
because the mention of it belongs to this place, viz. 
that he would give the very same sermon in the same 
words to a congregation of uninformed rustics, and 
to one formed of the highest ranks of a populous city; 
yet so acceptable were they to both, that by the higher 
ranks he was said not to be so well suited to the lower 
from their not being capable of estimating the supe- 
riority of his matter and treatment ; and by the lower, 
to be heard with more interest than is usually given 
by them to sermons, because they always found them- 
selves in possession of something they wished to un- 
derstand, and wondered that they never understood 
it before. His talent for particular and minute ob- 
servation, and for suiting his advice exactly to the 
case before him, joined to his general benevolence, 


enabled him to be of great use, in a quiet and silent 
way, to many of the clergy. In recommending, as 
he does in one of his charges, a personal conference 
with their parishioners upon religious subjects, " it 
is in many instances," says he, " a defect of a studious 
life, that it indisposes a man from entering with ease 
and familiarity into the conversation of the mixed 
ranks of human society.' * His advice was always 
readily and freely and heartily communicated; and 
in a way so apparently adapted to the level, as well 
as to the interest of the party concerned, that most 
of those who asked his advice found they were con- 
sulting a friend rather than one in an official situation. 
He was, however, so decided in tone, and so ready 
in discerning the consequences as well as motives of 
different actions and lines of conduct, that his advice 
had more the air of command and authority than he 
was aware of. To the lower order of clergy he was 
particularly attentive. To his curates, throughout his 
life he was strikingly liberal. Of his ecclesiastical 
censures he was sparing ; and when he was obliged 
to exert them at a later period, in one flagrant in- 
stance of misconduct after repeated admonitions, his 
books at this day testify, that he discountenanced 
every kind of anonymous information ; that he sifted 
common report to the bottom ; that he looked upon 
all as prejudice that was not proved in so many words ; 
and that his unwearied exertions to save the character 
of the man and the clergyman were exceeded only 
by his patience and impartiality in receiving any in- 


formation on either side. His charges, only one of 
which has been hitherto made public, seldom failed 
to make an impression, as much from the substance 
of them, as from their shortness and applicability. 
They are many of them very original, and have been 
often inquired after by some of those who heard them 

Of the one published, which has been* noticed as 
containing some allusion to political preaching, which 
is rather unqualified, the following remarks may give 
some explanation, more particular than can perhaps 
generally be known. It certainly is an opinion but 
badly supported even by the names of the present 
day, that the clergy have nothing to do with politics, 
if it be taken to extend to any thing connected with 
public affairs ; since it seems difficult to separate the 
interests of an establishment so intimately interwoven 
with the constitution, and since the concern of our 
parishioners with the public body is in general but 
too slightly observed. Even the pious and devout 
Herbert could tell us, that his parson would make 
his children first Christians, then commonwealth's 
men. Dr. Paley's sentiments on the subject which 
are supposed to be alluded to, may be better collected 
from a much more considerable comment in the same 
sermon. " If," says he, "other occurrences have arisen 
in our neighbourhood, which serve to exemplify the 
progress and fate of vice, the solid advantage and 

* Chalmers. 


ultimate success of virtue, the providential discovery 
of guilt or protection of innocence, the folly of ava- 
rice, the disappointment of ambition, the vanity of 
worldly schemes, the fallaciousness of human fore- 
sight, in a word, any thing which may remind us, 
1 what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue,' 
such occurrences may be made to introduce topics of 
serious and useful meditation." But as to the hint, 
for it is but a hint, given as delicately as possible 
against "party or political transactions and disputes 
which would tend to dishonourable motives," what 
was present to the preacher's mind on the occasion 
may be understood, by observing that Cumberland 
"was at that time the seat of a more violent ferment 
than is usually met with in contested elections ; and 
that the clergy, more particularly some amongst the 
higher stations of that body, were thought to be 
materially and improperly concerned. So far indeed 
was it carried about the period now spoken of, that 
it was the occasion of perhaps the only unpleasant 
occurrence that happened publicly during the course 
of his residence at Carlisle. It is connected indeed 
distantly with that " formidable opposition, which he 
is said to have joined *, against the overwhelming in- 
fluence of a nobleman ; and no doubt gave rise to the 
account, though imperfectly given, of the attempts 
made to weaken the elective franchise of the citizens 
of Carlisle." His interfering or rather joining pub- 

* MeadleV' 


licly in a party, was in an affair in which some of the 
magistrates of Cumberland were concerned, in com- 
mitting to prison two or three respectable inhabitants 
of Carlisle, who had pulled up some encroachments 
of this same nobleman upon the river, which pre- 
vented its being of service to the community, and 
which had been already condemned by a jury. This 
was generally esteemed such an excess of authority, 
such an insult upon the independence of the city, the 
respectability of the inhabitants, and the prudence of 
a magistrate, that it produced a shyness, or rather a 
neglect, of such magistrates long after. There had 
never been any great intimacy or intercourse between 
Dr. Paley and them, so that very little was gained 
by the accession of his name to the general sense of 
the inhabitants. As far as it went, he most highly 
and decidedly disapproved both of the act and the 
motive from which it seemed to proceed. When 
afterwards he was solicited by the dean of Carlisle, 
Dr. Ekins, who did not reside constantly, to come 
forward in compromising any misunderstanding, he 
expressed himself unwilling to commence an inter- 
course on that ground, but said, " he saw no reason 
why the slight or grudge should be perpetual ;" and 
it is probable that his sermon on reconciliation of 
differences, which was preached about this time, was 
given in allusion to the difference then existing. 

It may be a part of this subject, or at least will 
serve for passing from his church duties to his public 
life as an inhabitant of Carlisle, to observe, that he 


did not join in electioneering, nor in any thing con- 
nected with it j but he expressed his opinions pri- 
vately upon the general services of Mr. Curwen to 
the city and county, which was indebted to him for 
a great deal more than its independence. He la- 
mented the growth of mushrooms in Cumberland, 
which was the name given to a number of colliers 
and others who were allowed or rather forced to pur- 
chase forty shillings' worth of property ; and in a letter 
written from Carlisle some years after he had ceased 
to be a resident there, he says, " Lord Lonsdale will 
be beat two to one, though joined by Lord Carlisle 
and the bishop. It is too soon for the freemen to 
forget the mushrooms. " He also suffered his children 
to go bedizened with blue ribands, which the agents 
of Mr. Curwen had given them in profusion. These 
were his electioneering manoeuvres. His politics, in- 
deed, were as strongly marked as during any other 
period of his life ; but they were marked only by his 
being of no party, in fact, no politician at all. He 
never seemed to know that he deserved the name of 
politician; and would probably have been equally 
amused at the grave attempts made to draw him 
into or withdraw him from any political bias, with 
which either this or any other writing may be con- 
cerned. He would always form his opinions upon 
what he considered substantial grounds, and if he 
could gain information enough to rest his opinion 
upon, it was sufficient for him. He could comment 
indeed upon passing events with an interest and 


eagerness which he seemed to have no power or wish 
to repress ; but it was the interest of a warm and 
ardent mind, taking its own improvement and its 
own hints from whatever was curious or useful, or 
desirable or serviceable in the conduct of his fel- 
low-creatures. He was an eager devourer of a news- 
paper ; but one newspaper in a day which had been 
already read, was quite sufficient for his politics j and 
as it is not unusual for us to form an opinion of a 
man's politics by inquiring what newspaper he reads, 
or (which indeed may be the truth) as the side and 
party which some politicians take may often depend 
upon their newspaper, so it may be well to mention 
that his was the Sun. It filled up one hour after 
dinner; and whatever news was expected, or found to 
be contained in the post-bag, which every politician 
in the town knew at an early part of the day, he 
would not have thanked any one for letting him 
know before that hour. As a political dabbler, a 
reformer, or a stanch ministerial man, in the sense 
which that term is generally considered to bear, for 
the twenty years with which these memoirs are con- 
cerned, he was far too much involved in other pur- 
suits, too ignorant of the general statistical history of 
his country, too desirous of a higher and more laud- 
able and more benevolent use of his understanding, 
to savour in the least of a political clergyman. It is 
true there is a conscious and unconscious partisan. 
There is a party man whose principle is engaged 
without any force upon his inclinations or his in- 


terest, and who is scarcely known, or knows himself 
to be a party man, till circumstances call him out ; 
and there is another whose principle is so little af- 
fected, that he can deliver himself wholly up to what- 
ever bias his inclination or his interest may prepare 
for him ; but Dr. Paley was neither of these. It 
seemed to be the turn of his mind to seek out and 
attain a balance in his opinions, on whatever subject 
his mind was employed. No man could preserve a 
more just balance between an independent man and 
an eager politician. He was most truly independent, 
— not as one who wishes to boast of being inde- 
pendent, who cares for nothing but himself and his 
own views, or who is afraid of being considered de- 
pendent ; but as one who is independent, on the 
sound principle of looking with more fixed views for 
a better purpose of existence. 

While on this subject, it may not be improper to 
advert to what is said by his two contending biogra- 
phers, on his refusal of the offer made to him by 
the bishop of Ely in 1789. It is suitable enough 
to the subject now mentioned, and occurred about 
the time of which we now speak. It is first to be 
observed, that what is said* and repeated about 
" some men not being fit to be trusted with the loose 
talk of their betters," though most decidedly to be 

* Quarterly Review and Chalmers apply this not more inde- 
cently than injudiciously to Meadley, who was far too candid and 
careful and pains -taking to deserve any such insinuation. 

VOL. I. O 


reprobated in the use to which it is applied, is far too 
applicable to the general purposes of biography to 
dismiss without a great share of approbation. It is 
of use in explaining most of the misunderstandings 
that have arisen as to the public conduct of Dr. Paley, 
and of special use in this particular instance. There 
seems to be ground sufficient for Meadley, who knew 
but little of the parties to whom, or the occasion on 
which, it was spoken, to conclude that the offer was 
refused partly from such motives, as " not being able 
to keep in with Pitt a week ;" but if this was said at 
all, it was given as a loose expression of what need 
not to have been repeated. It was one of those sen- 
timents that were no sooner conceived than uttered, 
and no sooner uttered than forgotten. In this case 
as in many others, it is probable that the conversation 
from which such proof sentiments are drawn might 
lead to points on which he expressed agreement, but 
it is much more probable that such sentiments might 
take their complexion from the hearer rather than 
the speaker. 

He was not at all unlikely, at any time of his life, 
from the substantial brevity and positiveness of his 
sentiments, to have many sayings and expressions 
palmed upon him, which he never thought of; but 
more than that, he was the most unfit, though perhaps 
the most liable, to fall into the hands of those dry 
retailers of other men's loose sayings, who dress up 
for their own purposes whatever may be dealt out by 
men of some weight : but who that has any character 


to support is not made sensible of this ! He indeed 
of all others was a perfect example of consistency on 
principle, and of discretion on any subject which he 
thought worthy of consideration, yet the most rash 
conceiver and utterer of hasty sentiments, of the most 
grave off-hand speeches, of the most undesigned, un- 
premeditated blunders in addressing or conversing 
with strangers for friends, and friends for opponents, 
that ever entered into common society. So weighty 
was his very sportiveness, so much in the style of 
seriousness did he produce his humorous sallies and 
lighter sentiments, that it not only required a pene- 
trating discerner to tell what was joke and what was 
earnest, but a perfect and full acquaintance with his 
character. Though he was not one who was alarmed 
for consequences, if he could have foreseen them, yet 
such speeches were so unsuspected, that it is quite 
unfair to draw any conclusions from them. The 
following extract from one of his letters will set this 
matter at rest. 

" June — 89. I send the enclosed letter for my 
father to see from the bishop of Ely, a man I know 
no more of than I do of the pope. I was never in a 
greater quandary.— I have great reason to believe 
that the situation would be a step to the highest pre- 
ferments. — On the other hand to leave a situation 
with which I am much satisfied, and in which I am 
perfectly at ease in my circumstances, is a serious sort 
of a change. I think it will end in declining it." 

From the perfect conviction of his general freedom 



from all political bias, as well as a lively feeling of 
his character, his friends were convinced at the time, 
that he refused it chiefly from an unwillingness to 
enter upon another spjiere of life and into a different 
society, fixed as he then was in a certain line of en- 
gagements. In the quarter whence the offer came 
there appears to have been no suspicion, much less 
grounds for supposing, that the refusal proceeded from 
any other cause. Certainly no one of his more inti- 
mate friends ever had occasion to think him influ- 
enced by any such consequences as " quarrelling with 
Mr. Pitt." He himself seems to have been aware, 
or at least his family were, by hearing the opinion of 
his best friend, that he might have missed a mitre by 
it. > but to an offer so handsomely and disinterestedly 
made, neither he nor any of his friends ever thought 
of adding any probable consequences. 

Another occasion on which he came forward rather 
more publicly and prominently than was his custom, 
was in the year 1792, at a meeting held by the in- 
habitants of Carlisle, for the purpose of petitioning 
parliament for the abolition of the slave trade. He 
had already found occasion to notice this traffic in 
the course of his Moral Philosophy, though it is not 
to be found in his Lectures. He had been in cor- 
respondence for three or four years previously with 
the committee in London, but never # set himself 

* It does not appear to me., that what is called his treatise en- 
titled, " arguments against the unjust pretensions of slave dealers 
and holders to be indemnified by pecuniary allowances at the 


fairly to any extraordinary activity, farther than as he 
in common with other able men might give publicity 
to their sentiments in that neighbourhood. The 
slave trade had excited a good deal of agitation in 
Carlisle and its vicinity, as it did in other places, 
partly from the talents and abilities that were roused 
throughout the kingdom in favour of the Africans, 
and partly from its being a common subject of in- 
terest in that neighbourhood, probably from the con- 
nexion between Carlisle, Lancaster, and Liverpool. 
That silly project of breaking the neck of the trade 
by lessening the consumption of sugar was rigorously 
and resolutely tried in many families, and, but for 
the sweetness of heroism, which made both young 
and old vie with each other in bearing with tasteless 
potions, would have spoiled many a cup of tea*. Even 
nurses were then taught to renew the old artifice of 

public expense, in case the slave trade should be abolished," was 
sent as, or intended to be, a regular treatise. Mr. Clarkson's 
correspondence on the subject, which by the favour of Mr. Mead- 
ley's friends had been made known to me, seems only to authorise 
the mention of some hints, which Mr. Clarkson, in making -up 
one of his reports or pamphlets, wished to avail himself of, but 
had mislaid them amongst his other papers. Mr. Paley's name 
appears on the books of the committee as a correspondent. Ed. 
* That " entire abstinence from the sugar of the West Indian 
islands is the only instrument in our power of bringing the patrons 
of this horrid traffic to a sense of duty," is amongst the dogmas of 
Wakefield : who however clears the question of much entanglement 
when he says, "that conviction is the last thing wanted upon 
the subject, otherwise he would give two unequivocal universal 


burning sugar in the candle, to show their wondering 
children how drops of blood distilled from the melting 
mass. To those who loved their own gratification 
better than more refined feeling, it was a hardship 
which made an impression, and to some others it 
may serve as a date for having frugally abolished the 
custom altogether. So active were the exertions of 
the people of Cumberland in favour of the abolition* 
— Mr. Paley, from having a relation at Lancaster 
who had amassed a considerable fortune in the West 
Indies as a planter, had an opportunity of making 
himself well acquainted with the mysteries of cruelty 
which lurked there ; and neither his feeling of hu- 
manity, nor his common sense of morality, allowed 
him to hesitate on the subject. 

The third occasion on which he interfered publicly 
was at a period when every adherent to any form of 
regular government might well exert himself to stem 
the torrent of popular commotion and frenzy at the 
French Revolution. Debating clubs and correspond- 
ing societies were said to be formed in Cumberland ; 
but their influence did not extend much farther than 
to those who were just learned enough to be taken 
with Tom Paine's Rights of Man. It was on a general 
search being made by masters of families through 

maxims, one Christian and one heathen, applicable to this as 
well as every other subject. 1st. Evil is not to be committed 
that good may come, because the evil is certain and the good 
hypothetical. No political expediency whose basis is evil can 
terminate in national utility. 2. Fiat justitia — ruat coelum." 


their houses, and on finding that such cheap pub- 
lications were much in circulation, that Dr. Paley 
sent out his " Reasons for Contentment," and a 
single cheap impression of his Chapter on the British 
Constitution. Though he found one or two copies 
of Paine's Rights of Man in his own family, and 
threw them into the fire, he was not led to have any 
desponding views of the general disaffection of the 
people, but thought it a great deal exaggerated by 
circumstances. This, as far as it may form a cha- 
racteristic of his politics, was generally the com- 
plexion of his sentiments. His Reasons for Con- 
tentment are neither more nor less than the copy of 
a sermon, the original of which is marked as having 
been preached at Dalston, 1790. In one of these 
pamphlets, which were found on his bookshelves, was 
written in his own hand — " the best thing I ever 
wrote $" and as if to add one more instance to the 
common fatality in the character of authors, it is ob- 
served in the Public Characters, that " this pamphlet, 
notwithstanding the universal interest of the subject, 
was not very generally read, and by those who read 
it was not very generally admired. The side he took 
was unpopular." 

Such was he in public ; and so little did he think 
himself a public character, that it may be doubted, 
whether during a residence of thirteen or fourteen 
years at Carlisle he ever stepped out of his private 
circle into public and national concerns, except on 
these few occasions ; and it is perhaps as distinctive a 


mark as can be given to him, to say, that with a great 
natural inclination for bustle and activity, he de- 
cidedly preferred, from a conviction of its superior 
importance, the quiet orderly discharge of regular 
duties to the popular and more assuming line of con- 
duct, which yet he was never forward to blame. 

He interested himself very much in the establish- 
ment of a dispensary, which was at that time a new 
thing there j and in the promoting of Sunday schools, 
it is well known, he encountered the grave charge of 
plagiarism. Of his spelling book, which it is well to 
notice amongst his public works, for a reason that 
will presently be obvious, nothing is to be said but 
what he himself was called upon to say, viz. that the 
Sunday schools in Carlisle, at their establishment, 
were in want of some cheap and easy form of in- 
struction ; that he and the printer laid their heads 
together to cull from all such books, without fear of 
the imputation of plagiarists ; that it was sent out in 
London by his permission, but with the condition of 
applying to Mr. Robinson, who, as he had learned 
since, was the author of the book, from which he had 
stolen the first part of it, the book itself having been 
given to his children. In answer to Mr. R.'s angry 
insinuation that he intended it as a matter of gain 
and embezzlement, he candidly tells him that he 
never made a penny by it, but he is at any moment 
willing to make over to Mr. Robinson all his right 
and title in the work ; that such a shabby, mean, pub- 
lication is not likely to compete* in the market with 


Mr. R.'s beautiful type and fine paper; that the 
reputation for authorship was really no motive for 
the theft ; and that he had already made known to 
Mr. R. in a way that seemed to him to become both 
the subject and parties, that he was sincerely sorry 
for having unknowingly offended one, with whose 
literary merits and bad fortune he had, in common 
with every other scholar, often sympathised. The 
only observation necessary to be made in addition to 
this good-humoured and almost benevolent apology 
for it is, that on a future occasion, when he was 
asked to allow an impression of it to be printed at 
Newcastle, he replied, " Ay, you may do what you 
like with it, only take care ; I got myself into a sad 
scrape about it." Mr. Robinson's character as a 
writer of some repute, and as a relation of Bishop 
Law, which, according to a note in the life prefixed 
to Chalmers's edition, that gentleman appears to have 
been, does not seem to have been known to him at 
the time, but it was perhaps suggested to him after- 

For the appearance of this little work his bookseller 
is answerable. Those interested in the memory and 
reputation of Dr. Paley find that appearance best ac- 
counted for by the general disregard paid to the fame 
of an author, when put in competition with any pri- 
vate interest or speculation. It may not be for the 
edification of readers in general, nor much for the 
interest of those whose pen moves by interest, to 
open the secrets of book-making. But the facts of 


the case are these, and they speak for themselves. 
A volume published after his death by his own book- 
seller consists of something more than 519 pages, 
342 of which are taken up with the valuable in- 
formation for the nursery, of a dog, a hog, a cat, a 
rat; and the Clergyman's Companion for Visiting the 
Sick ; neither of which are Dr. Paley's, or can pre- 
tend to a place amongst Paley's sermons and tracts. 
This useful compilation of sermons and tracts was 
to be published just at the same time that another 
volume of his posthumous sermons was purchased 
and published by another bookseller, who was re- 
sorted to only after a comparatively low offer made 
by this his former bookseller ; and after an injunction 
obtained from the Court of Chancery to restrain his 
attempts at sending out an impression already printed, 
without the consent of those immediately concerned. 
As far as this same spelling book is indebted for its 
existence to the mind, and not to the circumstances 
of the author, though little more than circumstances 
seem to have suggested the compilation, it may be 
observed, that it was almost the natural turn of his 
leisure thoughts to observe the importance of little 
things of life. He was particularly fond of com- 
posing little prayers for his children or his own pri- 
vate use, many of which are to be found in his various 
commonplace-books, and by their very composition 
show no aim at publicity. In speaking of this spelling 
book it ought not to be omitted, that the only part 
which bears the stamp of originality in the first por- 


tion is in a list of directions for reading ; and so 
peculiarly are they constructed, that it may perhaps 
satisfy rather than displease Mr. Robinson's friends, 
if they be mistaken for Dr. Paley's* — " Do not stop 
abruptly, avoid a whining cadence, support your voice 
firmly, mind your stops, let your tone be natural and 
with vivacity." At least they were so completely 
engrafted on Dr. Paley's instructions to his family, 
that if they were not his own, it shows how much he 
valued Mr. Robinson's work. 

In 1790 he published his Horae Paulina?. This, 
though perhaps the most original of his works, and 
containing as much accuracy of investigation, as much 
shrewdness in eliciting probable motives, is not cal- 
culated so well for general reading as his other works. 
It never met with a demand at all equal to the rest. 
Whether it be that the subject is more confined, that 
it has too distant a bearing upon general information, 
that it contains only a part of the evidences of Chris- 
tianity, that it is a repetition of the same proof, that 
the mind of the reader is satisfied with proof long 
before the writer leaves his subject, it has never been 
much noticed in comparison with other writings of the 
same author. It is a fair specimen, however, of original 
criticism, and proves him to have been thoroughly 
versed in St. Paul's writings. That part, indeed, of 
his Greek Testament appears to have been his fa- 

* The particularity of such directions as these is not unlike 
what may be found in " Additional Rules and Cautions/' appended 
to Izaac Walton and Charles Cotton's "Complete Angler;" and 
who can be offended with the comparison ? Ed. 


vourite reading, as there are in the epistolary part a 
great many more curious and critical notes than are 
to be found in the Gospels. The originality of the 
design may be questioned in this, as well as in the 
rest of his writings ; and therefore it will be well to 
show, as far as any thing amongst his own papers will 
show, how much of the present work is original, that 
is, planned and executed without any previous ap- 
plication to lectures or other works. 

In the lectures from which his Evidences are 
taken, is to be found the following paper, which 
seems to have given rise to this work ; since it con- 
tains more than he has given in his Chapter of Un- 
designed Coincidences # , and is only not inserted there 
as his other papers were, because, as he tells his reader, 
on trying he found himself unable to abridge what he 
had stated in this volume, so that he himself partly 
connects the two writings. Besides, it contains a great 
many of the passages from St. Paul's Epistles which 
are noticed in his Horse Paulinae, and which seem to 
be of the same kind with those that suggested the 

" St. Paul's Epistles genuine, from the earnestness 
of affection and passionate zeal which appear in them, 
and which nothing but reality could inspire : e. g. 
Rom. viii. 35, 39 \ % Cor. xi. 21. ad Jin.-, 2 Tim. 
iv. 8. Could any man who was not in earnest write 
Phil. iii. 5, 14; 1 Cor. xiii.? could any man who did 
not look for the resurrection of the dead write the 

* See Evidences of Christianity, P. 2, C. 7- 


15th chap, of 1 Cor. ; as well as from the very ob- 
scurity and irregularity of them, which a forger would 
have to take care to avoid ? Moreover the Epistle to 
the Colossians directs in the body of it, that it should 
be read amongst them , consequently could not be 
forged after Paul's death, as the very Epistle implied 
that, upon the receipt of it, it had been publicly read, 
whereas no such Epistle had before been heard of. 

" The 1st Epistle to the Corinthians is an answer to 
a letter they had sent him, and on that account impos- 
sible to be forged, because it must have come to hand 
soon after they had sent their letter, and have been 
written also by a person acquainted with the contents 
of it, and, consequently, whilst St. Paul was living, 
and they corresponded with him. 

" In the 1st Cor. 16. 21. Gal. 6. 11. 2 Thess. 3. 
17. the very hand-writing appealed to — in other cases 
the transcriber or amanuensis is mentioned. Rom. 16. 
22. The Epistle to the Philippians imports that it 
was sent by Epaphroditus, consequently would not be 
received unless Epaphroditus brought it. 

" But above all, their genuineness appears from the 
many examples of undesigned coincidences with one 
another, and with the Acts of the Apostles. 

" Observe, 1. The coincidences. 

" 2. The undesignedness of them ; for, had they 
been unreal, either they would not be considered at 
all, or the coincidences would have been the effect of 
design. Phil. 4. 15, he says, that the Philippians 
had relieved him at Thessalonica. 1 Thess. 2. 9. 


2 Thess. 3. 7> 8. he reminds the Thessalonians of 
the distress he had suffered among them, and how he 
had received nothing from them. 

Phil. 3. 6. compared with Acts 9. 1. 

1 Cor. 15. 8. Acts 9. 17- 

1 Thess. 3.2,6 Acts 18. 5. 

% Cor. 9. 4. Acts 20. 2. 

1 Cor. 16. 5, 6 Acts 20. 23. 

" Urges Timothy and Mark to come to him 
at Rome. Accordingly we find that Timothy and 
Mark were with him at Rome when the Epistles 
to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon were 

It may seem remarkable that no sketch of this 
work should have remained beyond this paper, which 
is placed amongst his other lecture papers, — if we 
except a few sentences relative to the genuineness of 
St. Paul's Epistles, to be found there. It seems at 
least to show, that it had been amongst other employ- 
ments of his thoughts for some time before. But this 
very circumstance of its not now appearing drawn up 
in a more enlarged form proves almost the entire 
originality of the work ; since of his greater works, 
which were evidently sketched out before in his lec- 
tures, it is only the additional patch-work that re- 
mains, as was observed before, and not even the 
rough copies of a collected and compacted writing. 
So that this morsel, by being the only outline of a 
large volume, suggests obviously that the work was 
written entirely without any such hints as he used in 


his Moral Philosophy or Evidences ; that if this was 
not the case, some such enlarged sketch would pro- 
bably have remained, as of the other works. The 
matter of it seems to have been the production of the 
time at which he wrote it. Nothing remains which 
may lead us to conjecture how long this work was in 

Both the Moral Philosophy and the Horae Paulinae 
have been printed in Germany, as is observed by 
Meadley. The first a year or two after its appear- 
ance in England, and the second in 1797- There 
appears, however, to have been an earlier application 
for a German edition of this last work from one of 
the deacons of Zurich ; two of whose letters, remain- 
ing amongst Dr. Paley's papers, may be worth pro- 
ducing in this place, if it be only for their latinity. 
" Reverendissimo et doctissimo 

Do— Do. Wilhelmo Paley, 

Archidiacono Carleolensi, &c. &c. 

S. PI. D. 

Joh. Jacobus Hess, 

Diaconus ad aedem Abbatissanam 


Cum in Ephemeridibus literariis nuper de insigni 

libro quod Horarum Paulinarum titulo inscribitur, 

ea legissem, quae me dubitare non sinunt, fore ut si 

liber iste in oris patriis omnique Germanic notior 

fieret, multis adfirmiorem de Religionis nostrae veri- 

tate persuasionem via panderetur ; auctor fui amico 

Scaphusiano, Hurtero, utriusque linguae idiomatis 


satis perito, ut ejus in linguam Germanicam ex An- 
glica vertendi curam susciperet, quod quo minus ipse 
facerem, muneris publici, caeterorumque laborum 
cura detinebar, Ea de re ad TE scribendi occasione 
tribus de causis lubenter usus sum ; primo, quod jus- 
tum et sequum esse videtur, ut de cujusvis libri ver- 
tendi consilio ante omnes auctor ipse certior fiat, ut, 
si typo jam impressis addi quaedam, vel in iis mutari 
vult, ea omnia versionis auctori possit communicare ; 
deinde, quia librum ipsum ex Ephemeridibus quidem 
ita mihi notum, ut de ejus praestantia et utilitate 
dubitare nefas sit ; inspicere nondum contigit ; cum 
inter Bibliopolas Londinenses ac nostrates nullum 
intercidit commercium ; quamobrem typothetae TVO 
mihi ignoto, vir reverendissime, quaeso, significes, 
ut, addita pretii nota (quod per negotiatorum quen- 
dam solvendum curabo) exemplar libri TVI, quam- 
primum fieri potest, ad me transmittal Tertia, eaque 
gravissima, ea de re TE interpellandi causa fuit in- 
gens qua perfundor, laetitia, quoties lego vel audio 
lectu dignum quid eo fine in lucem editum esse, ut 
Historiae Biblicse, jam undique ab adversariorum telis 
et contemptorum fere oppressae dignitas veritasque 
elucescat. Lardnerus quidem vester multa praestitit, 
sed et aliis quaedam praestanda reliquit. Est et hoc 
ipsum, quod libris qualibuscumque meis de Christi, 
Apostolorum, Patriarcharum, etc. rebus gestis, in 
lucem editis (an in Angliam usque corum aliqua no- 
titia peragrarit, nescio) pro virili adstruere et pro- 
movere adnisus sum ; persuasum habens, vix ulla alia 


ratione ; hoc praesertim tempore, rei Christiana? me- 
lius posse consuli, quam ostendendo, firmis earn certis- 
simisque Historice fide dignissima fundamentis niti. 
Et in ejusmodi rerum tractatione ne minutissima, 
quidem parvi habenda, sed et ipsas illas tfepis-ao-eis a 
lectoribus plerumque neglectas, multum saepe mo- 
menti ad firmiorem animi persuasionem adferre, 
saepissime expertus sum. Quare, cum TV vir rever- 
endissime nova quadam, eaque valde commendabili 
ratione in isthoc genere laboraveris, est quod TIBT et 
cuivis litterarum sacrarum aestimatori librum TVVM 
legenti vel lecturo ex animo gratuler. Vale, vir doc- 
tissime, reverendissime ! m£ TIBI, commendatum ha- 
beas, et de re Christiana bene mereri pergas. Scripsi 
Turici Helvetiorum. d. 1 Junii 1792." 

What answer was made to this application there is 
now no opportunity of knowing ; nor does any thing 
occur amongst the papers of Dr. Paley to build a con- 
jecture upon. That an answer was returned favour- 
able to the application, as well as courteous enough, 
may be collected from a second letter : — 
" Viro plurimum reverendo 
Wilhelmo Paley, &c. 
S. P. D. 
S. Jacobus Hess, 
Turicens. Diaconus. 
Elapsis jam aliquot mensibus, necdum ad me per- 
lato libro TVO, via jam prorsus aberasse vel interci- 
disse puto (ob turbas forsan in Gallia bellicas) desi- 
deratissimum illud munus TVVM.\ Oritur hinc ad 

vol. i. . p 


Scriptorem libri, quo carere nolim, recurrendi neces- 
sitas, quam quidem mihi imponi haud aegre fero. Ac- 
cedit enim confidenti us tecum confabulandi libertas abs 
te ipso concessa, immo vinculum quoddam amicitiae, 
quo me tecum jungi sentio laetorque, litteris quippe 
TVIS amicissimis ad rescribendum invitatus. Fa- 
teor magna me laetitia adfectum esse isthac tua huma- 
nitate. Sum enim ita natura comparatus, ut quos 
veritatis Christianae amicos et defensores magni facio, 
eos non e libris tantum, sed e suaviori quadam si 
fieri potest, conversatione, notos mihi reddere fami- 
liaresque cupiam. Te vero de Christiana religione 
defendenda optime meritum esse, vel ex iis comper- 
tum habeo quae in volumine 73 mo 78° Monthly Re- 
view, page 411 — 413, ' e Philosophicis TVIS Prin- 
cipiis' de incredulorum parum honestis artibus ex- 
cerpta nuper legi verissima sane et momentosissima. 
Ne tamen vel loquacitatis vel assentationis suspectum 
me habeas, plura addere nolo. Vale, vir reverende, et 
mecum, si placet, conjunctissime. Scripsi Turici Hel- 
vetiorum d. v. Nov. 1792." 

This work cleared off, he quickly turned his atten- 
tion to making up a more general, though scarcely a 
more original survey of the Evidences of Christianity. 
It was probably in furtherance of his early plan of 
putting his college lectures into a more complete 
form, that he commenced this undertaking ; for it 
does not appear that any other inducement was held 
out, or was necessary for him at this stage of author- 
ship, than that of being a useful and striking writer. 


By this time, indeed, he was almost habitually a 
writer, and if writing for the press ever with him be- 
came a business, it was at this period ; for, being at 
comparative ease in his circumstances, satisfied to the 
full with his station, happy in his clerical engage- 
ments, attentive to family duties, and diligent in a 
certain routine of professional duties, which called 
for a regular discharge and almost daily attention, he 
was necessarily much at home, though not occupied 
in his public capacity to the full stretch of his abili- 
ties ; and a mind like his could not be satisfied with the 
mere possession of such resources. 

Of the two works which are derived from his col- 
lege lectures, viz. his Moral Philosophy and Evi- 
dences, the latter seems to have engaged much more 
of his research, the former much more of original 
thinking. There is, however, another difference in 
the rough model of the two writings, — if, as seems 
incontestably to be the case, his lectures gave rise to 
both. As far as respects the Moral Philosophy, the 
plan adopted in his lectures was adhered to in his 
work, though much enlarged. For his Evidences 
there is but a very crude and misshapen substance 
discoverable in his lectures, from which to draw any 
thing like a connected performance. In the one 
it is not difficult to recognise the plan, in the other 
it is more than difficult. Indeed so little does he 
seem to have decided with himself to what purpose he 
should turn these last, that even whilst he was recon- 

p 2 


sidering and remodelling them, he appears to have 
changed his plan. His general mode of composition 
and the unconnectedness of his rough sketches have 
been already observed, as suggested by a peep into 
his manuscript papers and books : and it may be that 
this very confusion gives rise to conjectures rather 
fanciful than well warranted ; since what seems to us 
to stand without connexion, and as if written with a 
hasty snatch of his pen in any page, may to him who 
was master of his plan have had a very intelligible 
connexion and consistency. The books into which 
the Evidences of Christianity of which he treats were 
collected are in eight or ten numbers, and of different 
sizes, crammed with short and detached sentences, 
some of which are divided into heads, and others in- 
termingled with a curious variety of heterogeneous 
stuff. To these books may be added a great many 
loose sheets of paper, which contain the most sub- 
stantial part of his work. Most of these detached 
sentences are marked as if received and placed in 
order, and appear in the body of the work scattered 
in different corners. These same marks, and the 
passages so marked, are to be found very generally in 
his lecture-book also. Such statements will scarcely 
be thought too minute, if they enable us to ascer- 
tain, both the quantum of thought expended upon 
this work, and the way in which it may be said to 
have assumed its present form. 

His lectures, as far as they present a rough cast of 


his Evidences, seem to proceed upon, and to be a sort 
of abstract of, the second and third books of Grotius 
de Veritate, &c. 

11 The Evidences of Christianity are an aggregate 
of many circumstances, not any one of which would 
alone be sufficient, and yet altogether convey com- 
plete and entire satisfaction. This I mention for the 
sake of those who are uneasy because they have not 
some one single proof to turn to, which, like a de- 
monstration in Euclid, makes an end of the question 
at once. 

" The evidence of Christianity is either external 
or internal. 

" The internal, that which arises from the contents 
of the books themselves. 

" The external, that which proves the truth of 
what they contain, be the contents what they will. 

" The direct external evidence of Christianity is 
comprised in these three propositions : 

" That the books of the New Testament were 
written by the authors to whom they are ascribed ; 

" That these authors could not be deceived them- 
selves in what they relate ; 

" That they neither would nor could impose upon 

" The books of the New Testament were written 
by the authors to whom they are ascribed. 

« For this proposition! 1 - l he S eneral Evidence > 

(.2. The particular Testimony. 

" The general evidence may be thus explained. No 


one has any doubt but that the Commentaries 
were Caesar's, the Orations Cicero's, and the iEneid 
Virgil's. There is no more reason to doubt but 
that the Gospels were Matthew's, Mark's, Luke's, 
and John's ; the Epistles St. Paul's, St. Peter's, St. 
James's, &c. 

" The foundation of our belief being in all these 
cases the same, i. e. the universal reception of them 
as such so far as we can trace. 

11 And this foundation may be depended upon, for 
it proves that they were acknowledged to belong to 
those authors, in the age in which they were pub- 
lished, and by the contemporaries of the authors ; a 
thing which might be known almost to a certainty 
from their bearing the author's name — speaking of 
him in the first person, his publicly owning them, 
their being ascribed to him by common reputation, 
and his acquiescing in it ; and that this opinion was 
delivered by the contemporaries of the author to the 
generation which immediately followed, and so trans- 
mitted through successive generations down to us. 
I say the universal reception of them proves thus 
much, this being the only way by which we can ac- 
count for their being universally received ; so if any 
one forged a book in the pretended author's life-time, 
or near it, he must presently be detected, and after 
considerable time such a forgery would be almost im- 
possible, as no one would receive a book as the work 
of another which had never been heard of during his 
life, or long after his death. 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 215 

;' There is no doubt at this time but that the book 
called Hume's History was written by Hume, nor will 
there be any doubt one hundred years hence, nor 
any more one hundred years after that, nor a thou- 
sand years hence, — if the book all the while con- 
tinue to be read and in reputation; for we of this age 
know it to be his from its bearing his name, being 
universally ascribed to him, and his acquiescing in the 
reputation. Those of the next age will know it to be 
his from us, i. e. from finding it so established amongst 
us as a notorious and undoubted fact, that he was the 
author, and considering that this is a point in which 
we could scarce possibly be deceived. Those of the 
following age will receive it upon the same principle, 
and with no diminution of evidence from them, and so 
on to any distance of time. 

" Take it backward. 

" There is no doubt to us his contemporaries, that 
the book called Hume's History was written by 
Hume in this age. There is as little doubt but that 
Paradise Lost was written by Milton in the last age, 
we being as well satisfied with receiving this opinion 
from his contemporaries as if we had been his con- 
temporaries ourselves. 

" Neither can we doubt but that the plays were 
written by Shakespeare in the age before that, though 
two generations removed from him ; nor will it pro- 
bably be more dubious five hundred years hence than 
it is now. 

J 1 Nor in like manner ought there to be any doubt 


but that the iEneid was Virgil's, the Orations Ci- 
cero's, the Gospel Matthew's for instance, the Epistles 
St. Paul's. 

" This evidence, from the reception so far as we 
can trace it, is never in fact disputed ; but where it is 
either contradicted by some opposite testimony, as 
some ancient writer of credit ascribing it to a different 
author \ by a writer's silence about it, when he might 
be expected to mention it ; or, secondly, something 
in the book itself inconsistent with those times, or 
that author. 

" If any one says, I allow the Commentaries to be 
Caesar's, the Orations to be Cicero's, an<i the ^Eneid 
Virgil's ; but I do not see the same reason for allow- 
ing the Gospel to be Matthew's, or the Epistles 
Paul's, because in religious matters people may be 
induced to forge books in other persons' names, and 
the names especially of men of such high authority 
as the Apostles. Now allowing that such attempts 
have in some few instances been made, I answer in 
the first place, that most of them were soon detected, 
that none of them gained the unanimous reception 
and authority that the Scriptures had. Adrian forged 
a book in Cicero's name, De Consolatione ; no man 
was ever led by that circumstance to suspect the 
authenticity of his Orations, Tusculan Questions, and 
other genuine works. Secondly, that this circum- 
stance is more than balanced by two others, that are 
in favour of the Scriptures above what can be said for 
the ^Bneid, the Commentaries, or Orations. The 


first is, that these Scriptures are in the nature of 
laws, and consequently the people who were then 
living would take care to be satisfied of their authen- 
ticity, before they would think themselves bound to 
obey them and lay down their lives for the religion 
they contained. 

" You might forge, perhaps, a speech, but would 
find it the hardest thing in the world to palm upon 
the public an act of parliament. 

" No one ever doubted but that the code of Roman 
law was Justinian's, though there was but one single 
copy of it found amongst some rubbish. 

" Secondly, that from the very earliest times these 
Scriptures were publicly read in churches, which 
effectually secured them from alteration or addition. 

" So much for the general evidence. 

" The particular testimony consists in their being 
cited as belonging to these authors by other ancient 

" Hume, in his history, cites incidentally a passage 
from Lord Clarendon's History ; this will be a proof 
to posterity that the book in which this passage was 
found was written by Lord Clarendon, and a better 
proof, perhaps, than if Hume had expressly asserted 
it ; it being less liable to suspicion, as it would be 
very far-fetched, almost impossible, to suppose that 
Hume should forge and foist into his own work a 
spurious quotation for the sake of authenticating a 
book, when he does not appear ever to have had the 


authenticity of that book in his thoughts or view, 
or ever made a question of it. 

" Of the same nature is the particular testimony I 
am now going to produce. 

" And here arises a cloud of witnesses, which places 
the authenticity of the Scriptures beyond all contro- 
versy — beyond the authenticity of any other book in 
the world. 

" They are quoted, and quoted as genuine records, 
and as the writings of the persons we ascribe them to, 
by a succession of authors from near to the very time 
in which they were first published, through every fol- 
lowing age down to the present. 

" Here produce the quotations, first exemplifying 
what is meant by quoting by name. 

" Quoting, 

" Repeating. 

" We have heard a series of testimonies, and con- 
ducted it below the year 500 ; we might have brought 
it down to our own age ; but from this time, and in- 
deed long before, we are absolutely certain that it was 
out of the power of even the governors of the church 
to adulterate, add, or to suppress them. I say, we 
are certain of it j because by this time many of the 
popish corruptions were maintained in the church, 
which these Scriptures either expressly condemned, 
or afforded no support to. If, for instance, they 
could have stifled it, they never would have left the 
passage in St. Paul condemning worship in an un- 


known tongue, the description of the man of sin, the 
rebuke of Peter by Christ, and opposition by Paul, 
the reproof of the Virgin Mary ; all of which one 
would think were providentially preserved to guard 
against the superstitions they fell into. If they could 
have altered or added to them, they would have foisted 
in something to have given a colour at least to Peter's 
supremacy over the other apostles, under which the 
pope claims his authority, to monastic life, celibacy of 
the clergy, invocation of saints, purgatory, prayers 
for the dead, which at present have not a foot to 
stand on. 

" It was not likely we should have any history or 
account of Christ, but either from his followers or 
those who wrote against them, of which last class 
Celsus, A. D. 150 j Porphyry, 240 ; Julian, 300 ; 
Hierocles, 300 ; have none of them denied the mira- 
cles of Christ, but ascribed them to magic. The 
Jewish Talmud, also composed about 300, allows his 
miracles, and mentions some instances." 

He then takes the remaining propositions in their 
course, viz. that these authors could not be deceived 
in what they relate. 

" 3. 1st Part. That they would not attempt to im- 
pose upon others*. 

" 3. 2d Part. That they could not impose upon 

* In the first part of this third proposition, we meet with a 
slight mention of what forms the principal feature in his work 
on the Evidences. 


" 1st. To suppose that they would, is to suppose in 
the first place that a handful of poor illiterate fisher- 
men, labourers, tax-gatherers, &c. should conceive a 
scheme of reforming the world, of altering all its cus- 
toms and opinions, should entertain hopes of accom- 
plishing it, should concert among themselves, and 

carry it on by themselves. 

* * # * # * 

" 2d. To suppose that they would, is to suppose in 
the second place, that they could do all this without 
any possible end or advantage in it whatever. What 
had they to get by preaching Christianity, or pub- 
lishing the history of it ? There was nothing to be 
got, nor did they attempt to get any thing. 

" 3d. To suppose that they would, is to suppose 
another absurdity greater than all this, viz. that such 
people should form such a scheme, and face every 
danger, difficulty, and discouragement in carrying it 
on, should undergo the greatest fatigues, traverse 
seas and kingdoms without rest, and without weari- 
ness, and at last submit to death itself in support 
of it. 

" Here produce the evidence of these sufferings. 
Now there is not a single instance where a man has 
died in defence of his opinions, but the world have 
done him the justice to allow that he was sincere in it, 
that he believed what he died for ; and what shadow 
therefore of reason is there contrary to all experience, 
to our constant way of judging in every other in- 


stance, to suspect the veracity of Christ's witnesses 
when they laid down their lives in support of it ? 

" I take this argument from the sufferings of the 
first Christians to be decisive. 

" If you say that many have died with a lie in their 
mouths, and that malefactors do it every day at the 
place of execution, I answer that it is one thing to 
die in a falsehood, another thing to die for it ; there 
is not much dependence, for instance, in a man's 
denying a crime, when he must die whether he denies 
it or not ; but if he denied it when he might save his 
life by confessing it, I imagine there is not a man in 
the world but would suppose him innocent." 

In the second part of the third proposition, he puts 
down three principal circumstances which distinguish 
a true history from a false one, because they make it 
difficult or next to impossible to palm a false history 
upon the public ; and all three concur in the case of 
the Christian Scripture and first preaching. 

" 1. The account being published at or near the 
time and place in which the thing related is said to 
have happened # * # # # 

"Were a man at this time of day to publish a history 
of St. George, few I suppose would regard it, what- 
ever the author's character was — was the same man 
to publish a history of King George the First or 
Second, perhaps every one would pay credit to it. 

" We learn from Tacitus, that Christianity be- 


gan in Judea ; that it had spread so far as Rome ; 
that there were Christians there in great numbers 
within thirty years after Christ's crucifixion ; it must 
therefore have been set up and on foot presently 

after — 

* * # # * * 

" A man might impose upon us in England accounts 
of pretended wonders in the South Seas; of a city 
being swallowed up in Peru ; of men eight feet high 
at Cape Horn ; but I defy a man to pass off, for any 
continuance however, a story of a city being swal- 
lowed up in Yorkshire, or of a race of giants being 
discovered in Gloucestershire. 

" 2. The subject of the narrative being of import- 
ance to the persons to whom it is related. 

" If a thing be of little or no signification whether 
it be true or false, of no concern to any body, there 
is an indolence and incredulity in mankind which 
acquiesces in such stories upon the slenderest testi- 
monies ; perhaps, too, there is a turn for the marvel- 
lous which inclines people to receive them. I assent 
as a matter of course ; it's not worth while to inquire, 
think, or dispute about it ; but let the intelligence 
affect a man's circumstances, or his prospects, or his 
conduct, or his profession, it becomes quite a different 
case ; you will see him bestir himself about it in good 
earnest ; be as wary, inquisitive, and suspicious as you 
will ; search into the bottom of the story, tracing 
things to the fountain head, and fully satisfying him- 


self of his grounds before he take any measure, or 
make up his mind. 

" Thus the compiler of a newspaper may insert an 
article, time after time, of ravages committed by a 
wild beast in a remote province of France, and the 
story may pass current, without a syllable of truth in 
it. A traveller may publish accounts of serpents in 
Egypt half a mile long, of their stopping the course 
of rivers, or, like bishop Pontopedon, of sea-eels to- 
wards the North Pole, that a man of war might sail 
under the bend of their bodies ; and such accounts 
may continue long uncontradicted, and in some de- 
gree credited ; but if an event publicly asserted, which 
any way affects stock or trade, or public credit, or 
people's professions, as that America has offered 
terms of accommodation ; that a war has broken 
out betwixt Spain and Morocco ; that the provincials 
have taken Quebec ; or that the king of Prussia is 
sending an army into Hanover ; such events and such 
narratives, if they be publicly asserted and believed 
for any length of time, you may swear to be true. 

" What then were the miracles of Christianity? Of 
infinitely more importance to those who read or heard 
of them than any thing which affects only a man's 
property or business can be ; for upon these facts 
being true or false depended all their hopes of ever- 
lasting happiness ; and besides, if these accounts be 
true, I must give up the opinions and principles I 
have been born and brought up in, must change the 
religion in which my fathers lived and died, and which 


I have all along believed and practised, must take up 
a quite different course of life, part with my old plea- 
sures and gratifications, and begin a new set of rules 
and system of behaviour ; it is not conceivable I 
should do this upon every idle report or frivolous ac- 
count, or indeed without being fully satisfied and con- 
vinced of the truth and credibility of the relation. 

" 8. The third great article which concerns the 
credit of a history is, whether it coincided with the 
prevailing opinions and prejudices, or was supported 
by the authority of the time and place where it was 

" We all know that a story which falls in with our 
own sentiments and passions gains an easy admission ; 
the most unlikely and incredible things of the king 
and his ministers would go down with a party or a 
faction,— with a club of modern patriots, for instance, 
upon the slightest foundation, if it confirmed a notion 
they had taken up about the ministry, or served to 
humour their resentment against them. Upon the 
same principle the stories of witchcraft and appari- 
tions, handed down to us from king James's time, find 
few people to believe them at this time of day ; be- 
cause we know that such stories might be and were 
propagated and credited upon the slenderest testi- 
mony; they had no more doubt of the reality and exist- 
ence of witches and ghosts than we have of our own, 
and therefore received any account of them, not as we 
should, with surprise and caution, or any curiosity to 


see into the bottom of it, but with open mouths, and 
swallowed them with more avidity and less distrust 
than any common transaction or ordinary occurrence 
whatever. Of a like nature were the stories that were 
told of Jews eating and crucifying children at a time 
when the people were enraged at them beforehand, 
and ready to tear their eyes out ; — such stories fell 
in with the public hatred, and got people to believe 
them against all reason and probability. The same 
holds with regard to the popish miracles, that were 
pretended to have been wrought, in the dark ages of 
Christianity ; they proved nothing but what was al- 
ready allowed, and had the popular cry and persuasion 
entirely on their side. Public authority also, by stifling 
inquiry, or silencing contradiction, may frequently 
hold up the reputation of a story, that has little else 
to support it ; as was the case in a great measure with 
those popish miracles, where it was as much as a man's 
life was worth to question or dispute them. 

" On the contrary, therefore, if a story makes its 
way in opposition to prejudice and passion ; if you can 
get, for instance, the patriots themselves to confess any 
good quality of the king's, or good action of the mi- 
nister's, you may depend upon the truth of it, because 
nothing but the truth would force them to an acknow- 
ledgement so sorely against their wills." 

9 9- -9 9 ' ■ w 9 

He next enters upon " Prophecy," without any fur- 
ther application either to the sufferings or the mi- 
racles of Christ and his Apostles. 

VOL. I. Q, 


" Collateral external proofs of Christianity are, 
Prophecy and the Propagation of the Religion . 

" A prophecy fulfilled is a miracle, and like any 
other miracle it proves the point it is produced to attest. 

" The two principal articles of prophecy are, 

" The predictions of Christ in the O. T. and 

" His own predictions of the destruction of Jeru- 

" Now as to the first, there is an absolute certainty 
that the passages we produce out of the Old Testa- 
ment were actually there seven hundred years before 
Christ's appearance, because these books have been 
all the while in the custody and keeping of the Jews, 
and determined enemies of Christianity; and who 
consequently would not forge themselves, nor suffer 
others to foist in, any thing that made for a religion 
they had rejected, and were so much set against. 

" These passages are all received and acknow- 
ledged by the Jews to this day. 

" You must compare, therefore, the description 
with the event ; and in proportion as you think it un- 
likely such descriptions should have been hit off by 
mere guess-work and random conjecture, in the same 
proportion do they prove that the prophets received 
their intimations from Heaven, and consequently that 
the religion, which is built upon them, comes from 

" I divide these prophecies into two classes : 

" 1st. Those which seem plainly and directly to 
belong to Christ. 


" 2d. Those which probably, though more ob- 
scurely, relate to him. 

" Here produce the prophecies. 

" 2. Christ's own predictions of the destruction of 

" Here produce the particular circumstances. 

" The rapid propagation of Christianity. 

" For the fact itself produce the papers. 

" Internal proofs of the truth of Christianity. 

" The circumstantial concurrence of the Scriptures 
with other accounts of the same time and country. 

" Produce the papers. 

" Facts fairly related, which might seemingly make 
against them, and which, had they carved out the 
story for themselves, they would have suppressed. 

" Produce the papers. 

" Seeming contradictions, but real arguments, be- 
tween the different Evangelists. 

" The Morality of the Gospel. 

" Produce the papers. 

" The originality of Christ's character. 

" Produce the papers. 

" Suitableness of the four Gospels to the situation 
of their reputed Authors. 

" Produce the papers. 

" An adequate occasion for the miracles. 

" Produce the papers. 

* Genuineness of St. Paul's Epistles. 

" Produce the papers. 

" Objections to Christianity. 



" Produce the papers. 

" Hume's objection 

" That a miracle can never become credible by any 
human testimony whatever, as it contradicts expe- 
rience that the miracle should be true — it does not 
contradict experience that the testimony should be 

" A simple instance will answer the objection. It 
absolutely contradicts the experience of the Emperor 
of China, for instance, that water should become stiff 
by cold ; yet of twelve men landed in his territories, 
who all affirmed it to be so in their country, if they 
were men of innocent and exemplary lives, if there 
was no possible temptation for them to lie about the 
matter, if it was not possible for them to make a mis- 
take about it, if they were insulted and ill-treated for 
maintaining a seeming absurdity, yet still persisted in 
it, if the Emperor called them before him, and charged 
them to have done with such nonsense ; if they still 
went on and he imprisoned them, beat them, banished 
them, and they neither varied nor retracted their 
story ; if he promised them their lives and liberty, 
if they would confess it to be false ; but instead of 
confessing it they repeated the same assertion, sub- 
mitted to be put to death, and died : with all the ex- 
perience the Emperor of China might have had, and 
all the confidence that the most experienced men upon 
earth put in his experience, they must be madmen not 
to believe them. 

" Hume's second objection is, that there are mira- 


cles which we allow to be false, and yet arp supported 
by as good testimony as those of the Gospel, and 
consequently no such testimony can be depended 
upon ; and he produces by way of instance the popish 

" We deny that these miracles are built upon any 
thing like the evidence that we have for Christ's 

" * The controversy of the Church of England 
with Dissenters * * * * 

" Papists 

* • # # #• # 

" Methodists 


" Quakers. 

" Presbyterians. 

" The number of Infidels in the world. 

* * # 

" Vanity. 

# * 

" Rashness. 

* • 

" Company and conversation. 

* # # # # 

* The reader will observe that here hooks on the part (and it 
is only a part even of what the lecturer has reserved for this de- 
partment of his subject), which is given by Meadley in the Ap- 
pendix, B. 2d edition. 


" The tendency of particular studies. 

# # # 

N Authority * * ■ * 

" The cause which has contributed more than all 
the rest put together to give rise to objections. 

" 1st. The many absurdities which several national 
Churches have taken into their system, and which 
have no place nor foundation in the Scriptures ; and 
the universal propensity in mankind to reject a whole 
system for the folly or falsehood of particular parts 
of it. This cause alone accounts for the many unbe- 
lievers to be found in popish countries. How should 
you get Voltaire, Rousseau, or people of sense and 
spirit to believe Christianity, while they regard Tran- 
substantiation, the Infallibility of the Pope, or the 
Power of absolving sins, as so many parts of it ? 

" 2d. Several lucrative tenet6 in some established 
systems, which induce the suspicion of craft and de- 
sign in the whole, — -the efficacy of offerings and dona- 
tions to the Church. 

" 3. The placing Christianity upon every foundation. 

" Thus Quakers and Methodists refer you for the 
proof of Christianity to the motions or witnessing of 
the Spirit in your own breast ; now a man who hears 
this, and can feel no such emotions or witnessings, 
has nothing left for it but to turn infidel." 

He then proceeds to give a short sketch of the 
prevailing errors of each Christian sect that he has 
mentioned, and takes the errors of each, in addition 


to what he has already given of the controversies 
maintained by each with the Church of England. 

Besides this matter extracted from a book fairly 
and neatly written, and set in a clear and intel- 
ligible arrangement, there is what may be con- 
sidered his rough copy of these lectures, containing 
many passages from various authors, whom he has 
consulted, and which are generally confined to what 
he has called the papers, when he made up his lec- 
tures, along with much of the same material as has 
been given. It may be worth noticing that this 
book commences with directions for studying the 
Scriptures, written at full length, and much in the 
same words as Meadley has given in his Appendix 
B, though not so full. In the next page is written, 

" On the evidence of Christianity. 

" Directions for studying the Acts of the Apostles. 

" Of the Author's dates, occasion, and design of 
the Epistles, with an Explanation of some of the 
more remarkable phrases and arguments that occur 
in them. 

" Directions for pursuing our inquiries into sub- 
jects of doubt or controversy. 

" An abstract of Ecclesiastical History, particularly 
of the first founding of Christianity and of the Re- 

" Of the controversies of the Church of England 
with Papists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Methodists. 

" Of the composition of Sermons. 

" Of exhorting, expounding, visiting the sick, and 
other parochial duties." 

232 LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 

Throughout this book there is little alteration in 
the plan, except transposing two or three heads, and 
inserting one or two which do not appear elsewhere. 
Thus, after " the morality of the Gospel" comes " the 
originality of Christ's character," — and after that " an 
adequate occasion for the miracles." 

The papers referred to are loose sheets, containing 
some little material on each of the heads here men- 
tioned, which comes into the Evidences in some shape 
or other, though so much varied or enlarged, that 
they are scarcely to be recognised, except as being 
applicable to the several heads. The most consider- 
able of them in bulk are " Testimonies to the au- 
thenticity of the Scriptures," and " Proofs and ac- 
count of the sufferings of the first Christians," and 
" Hints on the study of divinity." One of them 
shall be produced as a specimen of the rest : on a 
comparison with the chapter in the Evidences, it will 
be seen how far the resemblance goes. 

" The originality of Christ's character, that is the 
improbability of any one, whether enthusiast or im- 
postor, fancying or pretending himself to be such a 
person as Christ professed himself to be. 

" The Jews understood their prophecies of a tem- 
poral prince, and therefore whoever set himself up as 
the object of these prophecies would most naturally 
fall upon the sense in which they were generally un- 
derstood y and this was the fact, for the false Christs 
or pretended Messiahs, of which there have appeared 
so many, did assume that character. 


" Had he taken upon him the character merely of 
a prophet, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, &c. it would not have 
been unnatural, and he had examples before him. 

" Had he trod in the steps of the old philosophers, 
the rabbies, or teachers of wisdom among the Jews, 
one would not have wondered. 

" But here he produces himself as a being of a 
different nature with the rest of his species, as im- 
mediately and peculiarly connected with God him- 
self, as invested with the government of the world, 
as the person who is to raise us up at the last day, 
and the appointed judge of all mankind, — a character 
which there was no precedent to suggest, no example 
to imitate, nothing to make him imagine it. Besides, 
it never would have entered into the head of im- 
postors either to deny the ceremonial institution of 
Moses, or be for setting mankind upon a level with 
themselves, as there was not a man of them who did 
not stickle for the distinction and superiority of their 

" It was about as unlikely as that a Chinese man- 
darin should imagine himself inspired by the Holy 
Ghost, or a native of Otaheite, that he was possessed 
by the devil." 

Some of these papers also contain heads and ar- 
guments, which do not at all come into the com- 
position of the Evidences. Such are " on the sects 
and opinions of the Jews ; on the manners and cus- 
toms of the Jews \ and instances of the disinterested- 


ness of Christ and his Apostles ;" which last is not 
at all connected with his chapter on the " Candour 
of the Writers in the New Testament." 

It is obvious that most writers, on whatever sub- 
jects, may be as undecided in their plan, and as un- 
connected in the pursuit of their object as this author 
seems to have been on first setting out , nor is it pre- 
tended that any other work in so imperfect a state 
would not present the same confusion of material. 
But this may serve to account for the commence- 
ment of such an undertaking as the Evidences of 

Besides the main design of presenting such a view 
of these lectures, viz. to prove that much labour 
and thought was expended upon the work, in ad- 
dition to its being an enlargement of his lectures, 
there are one or two observations suggested by an 
inspection into these papers. 

His style and manner of illustration seem to have 
been the same in 1774, when comparatively young, 
both in age and theological studies. He seems to 
have been peculiarly fond of taking hold of the pass- 
ing events of the day, and other familiar matters, as 
illustrative of the obscurities, or what may be called 
at least the depths of learning. He seems to have 
divided the subject of his lectures in his own mind 
into two parts, on reconsidering it with a view to 
publication •, into the study of divinity, taking under 
that name a very partial view of it as a science, and 
into the common clerical duties, in which lie could 


have had little notion at that time of being farther 
interested than as a college tutor. One part of this 
division he seems to have taken for his Evidence, and 
perhaps on finding a certain portion of it swell out 
into a more bulky form than he had anticipated, 
confined himself to write on that particular kind of 
proof, which consists of some less noticed points of 
external and internal evidence. Original on common- 
place subjects, and common-place on original subjects, 
as well as prepared by the peculiar bent of his mind to 
sift evidence of every kind ; he seems to have united 
these two qualities so as to do more justice to his 
subject than to himself, and to have consulted rather 
how he might add his share to the many writings on 
that subject, than how he might form a close or 
elaborate detail of the general evidences. It is cer- 
tain that what forms the chief subject of his Evi- 
dences forms only a very small part of his lectures. 
It may serve also to confirm what has been before 
related, of his having employed much of his thought 
on this subject after he left college, if not of his 
having gradually developed his plan, that many of 
his early sermons contain several passages similar to 
those in his lectures, but considerably added to and 

In the book wherein he seems to have formed the 
plan of his Evidences, and which is clearly written in 
a more hurried manner and with fresher ink than his 
lectures, there is what may give rise to a curious 


speculation, as to the different form which his work 
might have assumed, and the reception it might have 
met with. In the first page stands in many detached 

" An address to a young man on the study of 

" An address to a young Clergyman entering upon 
the Evidences of Christianity. 

" To distinguish between spurious testimony and 
various degrees of testimony. 

" To begin with Casaubon's letter. 

" Some objections merely negative, as temptations, 
&c. raising the bodies of saints. 

" Substantial trait. Duke of Argyle. 

" National character no great objection. 

" Miracles, why rejected at one time and received 
at another. 

" How far recognized by the Jewish Scriptures. 

" Passages likely to be forged." 

It is not easy, if it were necessary, to determine for 
what purpose these several heads were put down, ex- 
cept as so many first strayings amid the uncertainties 
and indecision of arrangement, before he caught the 
spirit of his work. Some of these heads are introduced 
into the body of the work as it now stands, and after 
all, such loose conjecture may be wide of the mark. 

In order to come at his own opinion of the merit, 
as well as sterling value of his work, the following 


extracts from letters of his own writing may be pro- 
duced. In one, written about this time to an author 
who had presented him with one of his valuable works, 
he says, " I desire you to accept my thanks for your 
obliging present, which has been to me full of in- 
formation. As an instance of your condescension I 
receive it, with the respect with which a soldier would 
receive a sword from a veteran general. Your life, 
like that of the excellent Lardner, has been long 
and honourably employed in raising the materials of 
Christian erudition out of the mines in which they 
were contained, and which few can unclose. To me, 
and such writers as I am, belongs the far more im- 
perfect praise, but sufficient for us, of presenting 
these materials to the public, under forms as popular 
and persuasive as we can." 

In another, which may refer to his Evidences, not 
only because it is placed amongst the rough copies of 
his correspondence of that date, but because it suf- 
ficiently tallies with that work, and not with any other, 
he says, so far as can be made out, "Ina work by its 
nature comprehending so many points, it is hardly to 
be expected that there should not be some in which 
opinions will differ *****## 
I have seen some short quotations from Tom Paine's 
works in newspapers, &c. I should not expect from 
him much close reasoning upon the subject -> I agree 
in thinking his talents for writing are respectable, 
and his impudence unbounded. If there be any 
thing in my work which should happen to meet his 


objections, I shall account it fortunate. I think no 
good is done by a reply, which would only unavoid- 
ably disseminate his poison." 

To his bookseller he says, " I have good reason to 
believe the Evidences will become a standard book for 
persons entering into orders and for the universities. 

The bishops of and tell me so ; if so, it is 

not unlikely to command a regular sale for some 
years. I have no wish that it should go into other 
hands. I will offer. you fair terms, and I may be 
tempted by offers # *." 

To the same, who seems to have demurred, he 
says in another letter, " I adhere to my proposal of 
£500 for the Evidences and Horae Paulina?. I be- 
lieve I do not overvalue the Evidences at that price, 
whether the 'Horae Paulina? be worth any thing or 

That his valuation of his works, independent of 
his opinion on their merit, disappointed neither him- 
self nor his bookseller, may be well conjectured by 
the steady and continued sale of them much longer 
than the latter could avail himself of the exclusive 
copyright ; but it may serve further to show the rea- 
sonableness of his prospects when it is known, that 
either (for at this distance of time there must neces- 
sarily be room for guessing) a demand no less sin- 
gular than gratifying was made upon him for a second 
edition, before he or his friends in the north could 
procure a single published copy of the first ; or, on 
his way to the south, having occasion to stop with a 


friend at Leeds, he first saw a copy of the second 
edition, before he knew certainly that the first was in 
general circulation*. 

It is almost unnecessary to add much in this place 
to what he has added in the margin of the volume 
already so often alluded to f , that a mistake is there 
made in fancying his work a successor to the late 
Bishop of London's short but excellent Summary of 
Evidences for the truth of Divine Revelation. That 
little work is in some sort an abridgement of Paley's 
Evidences, as the preface to it acknowledges. 

After this protracted view of his public life and 
writings, it may not be unacceptable to look at him 
in private. There was but little variation in his mode 
of life for ten or twelve years of his fixed residence 
in Carlisle, and even in the comparatively unim- 
portant relations of a private individual, he showed 
proofs of the same distinguished mind, the same be- 
nevolent views, and the same strong and steady prin- 
ciple, which is to be traced throughout his whole 
course. As a private and domestic character he 

* In the university of Cambridge a grace lately passed the 
senate, to confirm proposals for the institution of a previous ex- 
amination of the candidates for the degree of B. A., when it was 
determined that there shall be every year a public examination in 
the senate-house in the last week of Lent term ; the subject of 
examination to be one of the four Gospels or the Acts of the 
Apostles in the original Greek, Paley's Evidences of Christianity, 
one of the Greek and one of the Latin classics. 

t Public Characters. 


scarcely varied at all from his 37th to his 60th year ; 
and, not like some who reserve an arm-chair for old 
age, and are in a constant bustle before that time, he 
seems to have kept up the even tenor of his way with 
a due mixture of public and private concerns. During 
this period he became the father of rather a large 

In the conduct of his domestic life, his aim seems 
still to have been method and arrangement, but he 
rather watched and took special care that his family 
should observe it, than observed it himself. From a 
habit of sitting up late at night, which he had not 
left behind him at the university, he was consequently 
not early in a morning ; but his mornings and even- 
ings, when the work of his waking hours began, had 
not a single moment undisposed of. He was never 
seen inactive either in body or mind, except in a five 
minutes' nap after dinner on reading his newspaper, 
when as a humorous apology he used to quote an ob- 
servation of Dr. Glynn, a well known physician at 
Cambridge : " Digestion goes on so well !" He was 
very rarely absent from his stall at the cathedral on 
the week days, at least when in residence, or even 
when at Carlisle ; and not to say that these formed 
his only motives, often from his late rising found 
himself obliged to prefer his appearance there, and 
the example of it, to his breakfast. He almost daily 
took a morning ride to his living of Dalston, at that 
time a most pleasant rural village, but more on ac- 
count of his health than the pleasure of the exercise. 


It was scarcely less painful to see his attitude on 
horseback, than it was for him to use it. It was not 
only exercise to him, but a most laborious exertion. 
He kept constantly a slow and regular pace, mounted 
on a very safe-footed and sober old hunter, bought 
and presented to him by the Bishop of Carlisle. He 
used to be much amused at relating a freak of this 
animal ; which on hearing the cry of a pack of hounds, 
and forgetting whether it might be equally agreeable 
to its rider, undertook to carry him a hunting, not 
at all for his pleasure, though he remarked that it 
was pleasant enough. He was very much entertained 
with an old story, which he considered very ap- 
plicable to himself, of a grave dignitary, who on a 
friend's expressing some surprise that he had not got 
to the visitation before him, replied, " Consider, sir, 
I ride and you walk." He returned to an early 
dinner, spent the afternoon in lighter reading, or some 
domestic concern ; and the evening, and even the 
latest hours of midnight, were his times for study. 
In the summer he generally removed his family to 
his vicarage at Dalston, in order to snatch a taste of 
farming, fishing, and gardening. There the same 
hours had nearly the same employment, and his mind 
was busy through all. His study was his place of 
hard work ; but in his amusement or his leisure he 
never lost sight of improvement, in observation or 
contemplation. Indeed many of his works, and par- 
ticularly his Natural Theology, and some chapters 
also in his Moral Philosophy, — that on Happiness, for 
vol. i. R 


instance, — show at once the bent of his mind during 
his most vacant hours. These bespeak a tone of think- 
ing which could at once derive an object of amuse- 
ment from study, and of study from amusement. 
Whatever he did, he did upon a plan. He was very 
fond of society, and mixed in it very freely, though 
never to the sacrifice of graver studies or more serious 
duties, or even the lighter pleasures of his family 
circle. So fond was he of it, that it is not little to say, 
that his amusements in this way were but his second 
consideration # . On his first coming to Carlisle, he 
gained a very general introduction through his friend, 
Dr. Law, who was himself as partial to, as he was 
eagerly sought after in, the society of that place. On 
his being made bishop, the ascendancy was easily 
allowed to his friend, from his powers of mind, and 
that feeling of deference to superior talents, which 
in the long-run always carries its own weight. But 

* It has often been observed that authors describe themselves 
in their works. It would be easy for any of Dr, P.'s familiar 
friends to pick out much of his private character from various 
maxims and sentiments interspersed here and there in his works. 
So it is obvious how much this natural preference for society 
was subdued in him by a sense of duty ; for he says in a sermon 
at a Durham visitation — " retiredness is the very characteristic 
of our calling. It is impossible to be a good clergyman and to be 
always upon the streets, or to be continually mixing with the 
diversions, the follies, or even the business or pursuits of the 
world. Perhaps no moments are passed with so much com- 
placency as those which a scholar passes in his study." Cell a 
perpetuata dulcescit. 


so far was it from any obtrusiveness on his part, or 
any petty assumption which could excite a grudge, 
that his opinions were rather called for on the passing 
events of the day, and many of his remarks are much 
cherished even at this time. Easy, cheerful, rational, 
accommodating himself to the ordinary views of com- 
mon sense, and bringing out his own amusing ob- 
servations on the most striking parts of ordinary life, 
which every one recognizes, but few think of account- 
ing for, he was able to entertain and amuse without 
exciting any worse feeling. His conversation was of 
that commanding kind, and yet so plain and unaf- 
fected, that it always seemed to leave more informa- 
tion than it aimed at. He was not more remarkable 
for a fund of entertaining anecdote, for the flashes of 
his wit, than for his easy transitions to grave and ra- 
tional conversation. He was able always to put his 
hearers into possession of the very pith and substance 
of an anecdote in much fewer words than usually go 
to the formation of a good story ; but it was never 
his aim to be celebrated as a jocose, or as an emi- 
nently witty man. By his liberality and candour he 
was enabled to put a stop to many of the current re- 
ports of the times, and much of the evils of gossip- 
ing. He used to ridicule very forcibly that sacrifice 
to etiquette which many make ; and if ever he was 
disposed to be severe in mixed company, it was either 
upon those who pretended to something they had 
not, or upon those who seemed to labour under the 
forms and ceremonies and compliments of society. 

r % 


He confined himself, however, rather more to a set 
of friends, than sought eminence by mixing with 
strangers or with the public. His spirits were buoyant 
enough to lead him easily into a more promiscuous 
society, but he appeared there as one gaining in- 
formation as well as giving it ; so that he was known 
but little comparatively as a public character at this 
time. During the latter part of his residence, when 
he became more known as a writer, and one whose 
opinions were of considerable weight, he was some- 
times entrapped into a visit for the sake of drawing 
him out on particular subjects, or bringing him into 
collision with other eminent characters for the enter- 
tainment of the company. This he never relished. 
He had not much gullibility, and was least of all ac- 
cessible by flattery of that sort. He was not at all 
unlikely to enter into any silent compact to disap- 
point such expectations. It has been complained 
that on a very public occasion in Cumberland, he 
and Dr. Milner, the Dean of Carlisle, a man equally 
famous for his enlivening conversation, and some 
others of the clerical body by no means inconsider- 
able, joined in defeating the expectations of the more 
grave part of the company, and endangering their 
own dignity, by talking only on the composition of a 
plum-pudding. This, if there be any truth in it, is 
not at all unfit to be made an instance of what is here 
meant to be conveyed. 

His intercourse with literary men during this part 
of his life, though not to be noticed as peculiarly 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 245 

large, yet was sufficiently active to keep his mind in 
full force. With his usual fondness for clubbing, he 
joined two or three of the most literary men resident 
in Carlisle, in holding a Sunday evening club, that 
is, in meeting on the Sunday evening alternately at 
their several houses, for the easy and friendly discus- 
sion of subjects of general interest, chiefly applicable 
to the purposes of religion, if not to points of doc- 
trinal divinity. But it may be a sort of set-off against 
such a grave mention of this club, to relate that it 
consisted from first to last of only three members. 
As each of these had the privilege of introducing 
any friends, this triumvirate was generally found to 
consist of seven or eight, who managed to give each 
other the impression that they were the pleasantest 
parties they ever enjoyed. Besides those more inti- 
mately connected with the chapter of Carlisle, and 
with the bishop's family, most of whom were occa- 
sional guests at some of the three houses, many of 
the resident inhabitants of that city, as well as occa- 
sional visitors, joined these meetings. One of these 
was Dr. Milner, the Dean of Carlisle, with whom 
there was no very long opportunity of forming a 
nearer acquaintance*, as Dr. Paley left Carlisle in 
about three years after the dean was installed. So 
far was he from suspecting, much less being con- 
scious, that Dr. Milner was preferred before himself, 
as is insinuated in Meadley's Memoirs, that he came 
into his house one day much delighted with the news 
being announced of their new dean, as it opened a 
prospect of their having so eminent a man amongst 


them. He said, " he could not have been better 
pleased, except it had been himself." In a letter 
about that date he writes, — "We have got a new 
dean, a great friend of Mr. Sheepshanks and Mr. 
Carlyle, and a man of great reputation, so that the 
appointment gives us great satisfaction." In a letter 
of a later date he says, " when the Dean of Carlisle 
preaches, you may walk upon the heads of the people. 
All the meetings attend to hear him. He is indeed 
a powerful preacher." 

With Professor Carlyle, who having returned from 
college to his native place, and at that time a young 
man, held the other living of St. Cuthbert in Carlisle 
under the dean and chapter, he was much in the 
habit of close familiarity. With him he used to con 
over his manuscript works before they appeared. In 
their evening walks he generally pulled out of his 
pocket an old scrap of paper, which he had filled with 
materials, the fruits of his morning rides to Dalston. 
Indeed, though this exercise of riding was absolutely 
necessary to his health, yet he chose it partly with a 
view of ruminating over his subject, and afterwards 
transcribing his thoughts upon paper, and partly for 
the purpose of consulting his books, which he kept 
there. What was the usual subject of their con- 
versation during their evening walks it may not be 
material to note down, though from the elegant re- 
search of the one, and the ardour and energy of the 
other, displayed at all times and on all subjects, it 
may be pretty well conjectured. One circumstance 
is worth observing, that Dr. Paley's conversation 


was generally mixed with such minute and original 
observations upon the most trifling of the surround- 
ing objects, that scarcely a stick or stone escaped his 
notice ; and from the fact of many of his remarks, 
which were too notable at the time for their manner 
as well as acuteness to be easily forgotten, being 
found in a more finished shape in his Natural Theo- 
logy, it has been generally supposed by many of his 
friends, that he even at that time contemplated a 
work of this kind. One day, for instance, when 
walking with Mr. Carlyle by the edge of the sea, at 
Allonby, a delightful bathing place in Cumberland, 
nearly at the mouth of the Solway Frith, Dr. Paley 
was observed by his companion to be pondering for 
some time in silence, as if fixed in admiration of some 
object, and at length — " Now see," says he to his 
friend, who expected a burst of some kind, " only 
look at the goodness of God ! how happy those 
shrimps are 1" 

It will not perhaps be irrelevant to this part of his 
life, though it be a digression, to bring forward a 
letter or two, that passed between these two friends 
at a later date, when Dr. Paley had left Carlisle, and 
Mr. Carlyle, then chancellor of that diocese, was on 
the point of accompanying Lord Elgin on his em- 
bassy to Constantinople. They are, to say the least, 
sufficiently characteristic of the writers to be interest- 
ing to many, and if any thing more is wanted to 
justify the insertion, it may be observed that the first 
letter is a fair specimen of the writer's ordinary con- 


" A little Ale-house upon our Road, 
May 22, —99. 

" Our women had received by our correspondence 
with Carlisle, some flying mention of your expedition. 

" It is a dead hit at a crown prebend. They can't 
do less ex debitojustitice, as much more as they like, 

but I think it can't fail ; so also thinks , who is 

a deep rooter. It will also be followed by some hand- 
some marks of notice from all or some of the trium- 
virate of bishops. This consolation awaits you, if you 
should come home circumcised or should get into the 
Seven Towers. 

" I will do your visitation for you in case of your 
absence with the greatest pleasure. It is neither a 
difficulty nor a favour * * *. 

" Observanda. — 1. Compare every thing with En- 
glish and Cumberland scenery ; e. g. rivers with Eden, 
groves with Corby, mountains with Skiddaw. Your 
sensations of buildings, streets, persons, &c. &c. ; e. g. 

whether the mufti be like Dr. -*, the grand 

seignior, Mr. , &c. 

" 2. Give us one day at Constantinople minutely 
from morning to night ; what you do, see, eat, and 

" 3. Let us know what the common people have to 
dinner ; get, if you can, a peasant's actual dinner 
and bottle ; for instance, if you see a man working in 
the fields, call to him to bring the dinner he has with 
Jum, and describe it minutely, 

* Persons well known in Cumberland, 


" 4. Their little-houses — I reckon much upon 
them, — " drawing/' as Tristram Shandy says, " men's 
characters from their evacuations ;" and no author 
has written upon the subject fully enough ! 

" 5. The diversions of the common people. Whe- 
ther they seem to enjoy their amusements, and be 
happy, and sport and laugh. Farm-houses, or any 
thing answering to them, and of what kind, same of 
public houses, roads. 

" 6. Their shops. How you get your breeches 
mended, or things done for you, and how, i. e. well 
or ill done. Whether you see the tailor, converse 
with him, &c. &c. 

" 7. Get into the inside of a cottage, describe fur- 
niture, utensils, what you find actually doing. 

" All the stipulations I make with you for doing 
your visitation is, that you come over to Wearmouth 
soon after your return, for you will be very enter- 
taining — between truth and lying. I have a notion 
you will find books, but in great confusion as to cata- 
logues, classing, &c. &c. 

" 8. Describe minutely how you pass one day on 
shipboard. Learn to take and apply lunar or other 
observations, and how the midshipmen, &c. &c. do it. 

" 9. What sort of fish you get, and how dressed. 

" I should think your business would be to make 
yourself master of the middle Greek. My compli- 
ments to Buonaparte, if you meet with him, which I 
think is very likely. Pick up little articles of dress, 
tools, furniture, especially from low life ; as an actual 
smock, &c. &c. 


"10. What they talk about — company. 
"11. Describe your impression upon first seeing 
things, upon catching the first view of Constantinople 
— the novelties of the first day you pass there. 

" In all countries and climates, nations and lan- 
guages, carry with you the best wishes of, dear 

" Your affectionate friend, 

" W. PALEY." 

The following letters* may be taken either as an- 
swers to the foregoing, or in whatever way the reader 
pleases to connect them. 

" my dear sir, Pera, Dec. 10, 1799. 

" I have now been here almost a month. Our 
voyage was rendered longer than we had expected, 
by the number of places at which we stopped. This, 
however, I need scarce say, made it upon the whole 
much more interesting. We spent four or five days 
at Lisbon, as many at Gibraltar, near a week at 
Palermo, and about the same time at Messina. I 
should have been most happy to have prolonged my 
stay in Sicily. I did get a little into the interior of 
the country, and to the foot of mount Etna, but I 

* These two letters, though not properly belonging to this 
place, may be found to contain so easy and so accurate a de- 
scription of the scenery, that if they convey not their own apo- 
logy for appearing here, yet it is my business to claim an interest 
in giving them. I consider myself indebted to Mr. Carlyle's 
family for the use of them. Ed. 


was obliged to tear myself away. As all those places 
are so well known to you, I shall not enter into any 
thing relating to them. I have, however, put down 
every minute object I saw, and in the light in which 
it first struck me, as much as possible, according to 
the plan you pointed out, — the only one that can 
ever convey any notion of a country to a person who 
has not seen it. I was very much surprised to find 
the clergy in Sicily so w r ell informed. They could 
almost all speak Latin with considerable facility, and 
they seemed by no means deficient in most of the 
common topics of literature. We were detained by 
calms and contrary winds in the Archipelago for 
three weeks ; this however gave us an opportunity of 
seeing from the ship most of the Grecian isles, and 
of landing upon some of them, particularly Cytheros 
and Tenedos. I own I was cruelly disappointed with 
the appearance of these far-famed islands. Cytheros 
was not half so fertile as Dalston common, and in 
most places quite as barren as Shep Fells. Tenedos 
seemed something better, and one of its valleys was 
covered with vines. Indeed we saw these islands at 
the worst time of the year for exhibiting their good 
looks, as the corn was off the ground, and every thing 
like a vegetable turned brown by the sun. But they 
never can be very fertile or very beautiful ; their soil 
is scarce a skin to cover their bones, and they have 
not one tree to enliven the prospect. While we were 
at the mouth of the Dardanelles, we catched an op- 
portunity of spending a day upon the plains of Troy, 
and tracing the courses of the Scamander and the 


Simois. The plain is a most beautiful one, of a cir- 
cular figure, the diameter of which is about twelve 
miles. I was surprised to see the Scamander at the 
latter end of autumn so considerable a river. In 
winter it must be very large. When we saw it, it 
very much resembled, both in size and general ap- 
pearance, the Eden, a little below Castle-steads. The 
face of the country too is not very different. The 
Simois is something like the Petterel beside Botcherby 
Mill ; but more so to the little stream which passes 
by Acorn Bank, particularly in its banks and accom- 
paniments. Indeed we all agreed that we had seen 
nothing upon the Continent so like England as the 
borders of the Simois. I am sorry to say, we could 
not find one trace of ruins ; not a stone bigger than 
one's fist, not a swell in the earth where entrench- 
ments had ever been erected. Could these so com- 
pletely have perished, if the " altamoenia Trojae" had 
ever existed ? I own I begin to be an infidel upon 
the subject. 

" I cannot say the first view of Constantinople struck 
me so forcibly as I had expected : whether it was that 
it opened upon us too gradually, or that I had raised 
my mind too high, I know not, but it certainly did 
not produce the same effect upon the imagination as 
either Lisbon or Messina. But in fact the prospect 
from the sea is by no means the finest point of view. 
We see the city to ten times more advantage from 
Pera. The scene from hence is indeed delightful. 
The sea with all its shipping lies directly before us, 
and appears like a beautiful lake, bounded cm the 


right by the city of Constantinople, glittering with 
mosques and minarets. The Seraglio is at the ex- 
tremity of the city, and almost immediately before 
us. On the left we have the Bosphorus, fringed with 
cultivated fields and crowned with the Asiatic moun- 
tains. Princes' islands are in front, and beyond them 
a range of mountains very similar to the Scottish coast 
as seen from Allonby. Dallaway's plate, in his History 
of Constantinople, is a very good representation of 
the prospect, though I would not have chosen the 
spot he has done to make the view from. About a 
fortnight after our arrival we had an audience with 
the Grand Signior. As by this means we were ad- 
mitted into the bosom of the Seraglio, where so few 
Christians have ever been, you may suppose we looked 
about us with all our eyes. I fear I can scarce com- 
press the account of our interview into the remaining 
part of my letter, but I will try. 

" We rose before five o'clock, and set off through 
Pera by torch-light. The procession opened with 200 
janisaries, then the running footmen, interpreters, 
&c. Then the ambassador and suite, afterwards the 
marines and sailors of our vessels, and last the gentle- 
men of the Factory. We arrived by daybreak on 
the other side of the water, mounted horses provided 
for us, and proceeded to the gate of the city, at which 
the ambassador alighted, and entered the house of 
the governor ; he was here treated with coffee (which 
is never given with milk or sugar), and after staying 
about a quarter of an hour, he again mounted, and 


we proceeded to the junction of two streets, the one 
leading down to the Port (public offices) and the 
other to the Seraglio. At this place we stopped for 
the arrival of the grand vizier, who was to precede 
us to the palace. We did not wait many minutes 
before his train made their appearance, which con- 
sisted of a great number of janisaries, ministers of 
state, &c. Our procession fell into the rear of the 
grand vizier's, and in this order we entered into the 
first court of the Seraglio, an irregular square, with 
trees planted in different parts ; about twice the size 
of the first court of Trinity College. At the left 
corner of the court are two marble columns about a 
yard in height, upon the first of which the heads of 
the grand viziers, and upon the second those of the 
other great officers that are cut off by order of the 
sultan, are exposed for three days, — a pleasant me- 
morandum to the grand vizier and his train ! Across 
the court runs a causeway. When we had advanced 
to the middle of this, we were met by a kind of pro- 
cession, consisting of bostangies, janisaries, &c. the 
foremost of whom absolutely pushed Lord Elgin off 
the causeway. Such is their established custom in 
the reception of Christian ambassadors. When we 
arrived at the gate of the second court, we alighted, 
and entered into a small room most conveniently fur- 
nished, where coffee was served, and where Lord 
Elgin waited till word should come that he might be 
admitted to the divan. This was in about twenty 
minutes. We then passed through the gate (which 


was surrounded with old shields, and adorned with 
Arabic verses), and entered the inner court. This is 
by no means so large as the other, but has more trees 
planted in it, so as almost to give it the appearance 
of a garden. Over the gateway, and nearly all round 
the court, is a kind of covered gallery, or rather 
horizontal roof, that stretches seven or eight yards 
from the wall, and puts one in mind of the Chinese 
buildings. As soon as we came to the middle of the 
court, at a signal given, the janisaries, who are sta- 
tioned under the flat roof on the right, began to run 
with great velocity towards us. At first this appeared 
somewhat alarming, but we soon found it was only in 
order to scramble for their breakfast, which consisted 
of a cake of bread and some pilau. We now passed 
through a part of the court where it grew contracted, 
and entered the divan. This building contains two 
apartments, both about the same size, and divided 
from each other by an arch with sofas under it. The 
outer room is the hall of justice and council chamber. 
The farther seemed occupied by attendants; both these 
apartments are about ten yards square, and the same 
in height. A dome rises from about one half of this 
height, and is supported by arches shaped thus 
The divan, or rather first room, is wains-/ 
coted round with pannels of brown marble beauti- 
fully polished. When we entered, the vizier, at- 
tended by the two cadilashers of Asia and Europe, 
one standing on each side of him, continued seemingly 
immersed in business ; another studied insult, I fancy, 


to poor Christians ! After this was finished, the vizier 
despatched a messenger to the sultan, to know if the 
ambassador would be received ; and sat down on the 
sofa, as did the two cadilashers, in the European 
manner. He continued in that posture for at least 
an hour, when the answer arrived. He received it 
with the utmost reverence, placing it upon his head 
and breast. He then opened and read it. As the 
ambassador was now to be admitted, he and his suite 
were invited to partake of a cold collation. Two 
tables were spread, one for him and the vizier, and 
the other for nine of us. A large silver salver was 
now placed upon the table, and upon this the dishes 
were laid one by one. Coarse napkins and horn 
spoons were given to each of us, and the writer of 
the grand signior's cipher (I do not give the break- 
tooth Turkish names) presided and carved ; i. e. 
pulled the meat to pieces with his fingers, which, as 
every thing was so much done, was not difficult. 
But the mode of doing this did not seem very de- 
licate ; the carver seizing the fowl or fish with one 
hand, and tearing off the limbs, &c. with the other. 
We had twenty-six dishes, of which I contrived to 
make the following list : — 

" White soup 9 very thick with rice ; fowls, roasted 
as dry as a chip ; green soup, thickened with various 
herbs, particularly burnia, and sourish ; apples stewed, 
and carved on the outsides in waves, very pretty 5 
calves' -head hash, not very different from ours, though 
sourer and less peppered ; turkey boiled to rags ; Jish 


stewed with herbs, cold; meat jelly, cold; sponge 
biscuits; mutton in round pieces, stewed in a strong 
gravy with herbs ; pigeons stewed ; dried fritters, 
cold ; pheasant, stewed to rags ; pears stewed, looked 
and tasted just like ours ; Jish, fried with herbs ; a 
kind of 'flummery ; partridges stewed with mutton ; 
an immense puff, big as a table, sweetened with honey ; 
sugar fritters ; mutton stewed with almonds; beans 
stewed into a thick mass, the common soup of the 
country ; open tarts, sweetened with honey ; a red 
pudding, very sour and bad — I could not guess 
at its composition ; pilau, i. e. rice boiled till soft, 
and smeared with butter, having a basin of sour milk 
in the centre ; sherbet, i. e. fresh-made raisin wine, 
with pomegranate seeds floating in it. I tasted all 
the dishes, and thought most of them very tolerable. 

" When the entertainment was over, a slave poured 
some rose water on our hands (a ceremony by no 
means unnecessary, as we had neither plates nor 
knives and forks) out of a golden ewer ; we were 
then scented with incense, and requested to receive 
our pelisses. During all the time, the sultan was 
stationed at a grate which looked into the divan. We 
could easily perceive him move from the glittering 
of his jewels. After our pelisses were presented 
(which were of the same kind as those we received 
from the grand vizier, and said to be worth £40 or 
£50 a-piece), a shameful scramble took place amongst 
the Greek servants for the caftans (#; e. the inferior 
cloaks) ; this tKe Turks did not take the smallest pains 

vol. i. s 


to put a stop to. After waiting about half an hour, 
the vizier and his suite passed by us and entered the 
palace. In a short time we were informed that we 
might be introduced. We set off accordingly, i. e. 
as many as were permitted, which with the officers 
of the ship amounted to thirteen. As soon as we 
came to the door of the palace, a couple of guards 
seized us by the neck, I do not mean rudely, and 
kept their hands upon our shoulders till we quitted 
the palace. We turned to the left as soon as we 
entered, and came into a rich and spacious hall, 
where were deposited a quantity of European pre- 
sents. We approached the interior door, which 
opened into another saloon, through rows of white 
eunuchs, dressed in a most splendid manner, and 
glittering with precious stones. We were at length 
introduced, with the completest silence, into the pre- 
sence chamber. Here we saw the sultan sitting (for 
he too sat like a European) in state upon his throne. 
The apartment was about 30 feet square, covered 
with gilding both on the top and walls. There were 
three windows in the room on different sides, none 
of which opened into the external air. Thus the 
apartment was a box, within another room. The 
space between was formed into an aviary. As the 
windows had only a mediate communication with the 
air, the room itself possessed all the sublimity of 
darkness. The throne was exactly like a four-post 
bed, from the sides of which, as well as from the top, 
hung golden balls adorned with long fringe. The 


throne was absolutely hidden by pearls, and must be 
of immense value. On the side of the room opposite 
the entrance, a kind of fire-place was erected, and 
this was the only furniture of the chamber ; which in- 
deed exhibited a most comfortless appearance, always, 
I believe, the abode of misery, and more frequently, 
perhaps, than any other place on earth, the scene of 
guilt and horror. The sultan was dressed in a yellow 
robe with a very rich pelisse. The fur of it crossed 
over his breast. His face is handsome, and his coun- 
tenance pleasirig. The ambassador now delivered his 
speech, which was interpreted to the sultan. This 
was answered by the vizier. During the answer the 
sultan looked twice or thrice at the ambassador, and 
nodded with a kind of smile. When the speeches 
were over, we withdrew in the same manner and form 
as we had come in. We then proceeded through the 
courts, &c. &c. and mounted our horses. It was not, 
however, the etiquette for us to set off upon our re- 
turn, till after the grand vizier had left the seraglio. 
In about half an hour he and the members of the 
divan made their appearance. They were preceded 
by a large number of janisaries (2000 I should think) 
running as quick as possible. The great men rode 
one after another, generally very well mounted. The 
vizier closed the procession. After the train had 
passed, we set out upon our return, which was con- 
ducted exactly in the same manner as our approach, 
only that we had a greater number of spectators 

s 2 


(particularly women) than we took notice of in the 

" Thus I have tried to give you a sketch of our 
visit. I have only to hope you are not more tired 
with it than we were. I know not whether I shall 
be able to get into the library of the seraglio. In the 
mean time I am very busy with my Oriental studies. 
I talk Arabic for two hours every morning with a 
master, and afterwards in the course of the day with 
some families to whom it is vernacular, that I have 
been introduced to. I have already met with some in- 
teresting books in the language ; a book of biography, 
with poetry interspersed ; a romance in 30 vols., ex- 
actly like Amadis de Gaul, but certainly more an- 
cient than the time of Mahommed ; a collection of 
anecdotes and bon mots of the court of Haroun 
Alraschid. I think they will not be considered as 
unam using in England." 

Another letter is dated, 

"my dear sir, Cyprus, Feb. 16, 1800. 

" You will be surprised to find by the date of this 
letter, that I have got so far from Constantinople. 
I am now on my road to Syria, where I hope to 
arrive in a short time. 

" As the plague had broke out in Constantinople, 
and even in the Seraglio itself, I was prevented from 
pursuing my investigations in that place for some 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 261 

time ; I did not like to remain at Pera unemployed, 
and as General Koehler was going to Syria to join the 
grand vizier, I gladly embraced the offer he was so 
good as to make me of accompanying him. It was 
no small inducement to my undertaking the journey 
to find that he travelled through the heart of Asia 
Minor, and particularly through a part of it which 
has not for ages been explored by any Europeans. 
The route through it is now only opened o» account 
of the rebellions which prevail in some of the pro- 
vinces through which the common road passed. The 
part I mean is through ancient Lycaonia, Isauria, 
and Cilicia ; from Iconium to Celenchris, where we 
took shipping for this island. The quantities of Gre- 
cian remains are beyond all conception. We literally 
rode upon sculptures and marble columns for miles. 
Catacombs and sarcophagi lay scattered in various 
places, as we passed along, upon the ground. We 
met with some temples where the pillars were still 
standing, and with many where they were lying in 
the place where they had been overturned. We saw 
some mausolea almost entire, and of the most beau- 
tiful architecture. In short, the whole of this un- 
known region " scatet minis." I was very fortunate 
in having General Koehler in company, as he is an 
excellent draftsman. He made sketches of most of 
the objects we judged worthy of it, and has been so 
good as to promise me a copy of all the drawings 
he has taken. I was myself employed, along with 
another gentleman of our party, in taking the in- 


scriptions and making measures of such buildings as 
we conveniently could. I have written also a very 
minute journal of all our transactions, so that I trust 
I shall be able to give you a pretty tolerable idea of 
our route. As we examined these splendid remains, 
it was impossible not to be still more strongly struck 
with the scenes of desolation around us. All these 
fertile countries are now almost a desert. We tra- 
velled through one plain near two hundred miles 
long, and from eighteen to twenty miles over, the 
plain where Lystra and Derbe, and a number of other 
cities once stood, a plain, I believe, nearly half as 
big as Yorkshire, and which produces twenty bushels 
for every one that is sown ; and I am very sure that 
all this tract does not contain 27,000 inhabitants, 
two-thirds of whom live in the towns of Coniah and 
Caraman ; for there are few villages and no single 
cottages to be found. The whole country is in a 
state of anarchy. Every little commandant of a petty 
district is an independent prince, and every one is at 
variance with his neighbours. No person, therefore, 
can think of living in a separate habitation, where he 
cannot be defended by a sufficient number of friends. 
It is only, therefore, around these towns that any 
cultivation is to be found. All the intermediate 
country is a waste betwixt these small oases. You 
may easily suppose travelling was not very convenient 
in such a country. We had seldom a place to sleep 
in better than the barn or stable of a hedge alehouse ; 
and sometimes we had nothing but the same khan 

LIVE OF Dlt. PALEY. 263 

with our horses and camels : often a ruinous build- 
ing without doors, and almost without roof. We had 
nothing to eat but cabobs, i. e. slices of meat roasted 
on a skewer, made of tough mutton or goat's flesh, 
cut off from the animal the moment it was killed. In 
most of the places through which we passed, we could 
find no wine to drink, because the people were rigid 
Mahomeddans. Such was our lodging and fare. But 
fatigue made our beds soft, and our meals palatable. 

" We met Sir Sydney Smith at this place. He is 
setting off to-morrow or next day for Alexandria, 
and has offered to carry me' along with him there, 
and from thence (after getting a peep at Cairo and 
the Pyramids, which the present treaty will enable 
him to do) I propose going to Jaffa and Jerusalem, 
and remaining there a week or two, as I have every 
recommendation I could desire, to introduce me into 
the several convents, &c. and can now speak Arabic 
with tolerable ease. From thence I shall return by 
the coast to Constantinople ; and I think I shall have 
seen as much in a short time as most persons have 
ever done. 

" If I have an opportunity, I will certainly write 
to you from the Holy City." 

We come now to another period of Dr. Paley's 
life, viz. his removal from Carlisle, which is repre- 
sented to have taken place in consequence of his pub- 
lication of the Evidences of Christianity. The man- 
ner of it may reflect more credit upon his patrons and 

264 life of dr. paLey. 

himself than has been sometimes allowed. He brought 
forward opportunely what was likely to add materially 
to the Christian cause at that time, and the more so, 
as it was sure to be advanced substantially and with a 
weight of intelligible and practical reasoning, sufficient 
to turn the edge of the cunning sophistry of that day % 
and those of the episcopal bench, who stepped forward 
to patronise his exertions, seem to have had no other 
view. In 1794 he received the first communication 
from the Bishop of London, Dr. Porteus, in which 
that prelate states that " a prebend has just become 
vacant in the church of St. Paul's, of which I desire 
your acceptance as a small mark of the high estimation 
in which I hold your character, your talents, and your 
writings ; and more particularly as a public testimony 
on my part to the merit of your late work on the 
Evidences of Christianity, which will, I conceive, do 
essential service to the cause of religion, at a time 
when it stood much in need of such able defenders. 
I wish for your sake that the preferment I offer was 
more valuable, but as it is the first that has become 
vacant since your last book appeared, I was anxious 
to seize the earliest opportunity that presented itself 
of giving you some little proof of regard/' Dr. Paley 
reckoned this about £150 a year, exclusive of the 
chance of fines, of which it was not wholly unpro- 
ductive. In Christmas of the same year the then 
Bishop of Lincoln (now Bishop of Winchester) pre- 
sented him with the subdeanery of Lincoln, " solely," 
as his lordship writes, " from the great respect I have 


always entertained for your character, and which has 
just been confirmed and raised by the very able man- 
ner in which you have supported the general evidences 
of Christianity in your two last publications. As I 
feel that I could not give this piece of preferment to 
any other person with so much satisfaction to my own 
mind, so I am convinced that I could not otherwise 
dispose of it with so much credit to myself in the 
opinion of all who have any regard for the interests 
of religion." In the beginning of the next year he 
spent a few weeks at Cambridge preparatory to taking 
his doctor's degree, and on his way to take possession 
of this unexpected piece of preferment. At that very 
time came a third letter, from the Bishop of Durham, 
offering him the rectory of Bishop Wearmouth ; at 
the same time saying, that " the respect his lordship 
felt for his distinguished abilities, and the benefit the 
cause of Christianity had derived from his Horae Pau- 
lina? and the Evidences of Christianity, did not allow 
him to hesitate a moment in offering this preferment 
as a public testimony of his esteem." Thus in the 
short space of six or eight months flowed in such a 
tide of substantial and disinterested patronage from 
different quarters upon the same public grounds, that 
it cannot but be a matter of surprise to find any in- 
sinuations thrown out, either that such preferment 
was inadequate, or that he was dissatisfied with his 
reward, or unworthily courted it. By one he is pub- 
licly represented as having been long an object which 
those in the higher orders in the church had observed 


in dignified silence. By others, this accidental and 
sudden rise of preferment is made the ground on 
which a mere attack and defence of political and 
party zeal is so conspicuous, that his own character 
is lost in the struggle. It is said by one party, that 
" any large forbearance was scarcely now possible," 
when this forbearance never seems to have been 
thought of under that name. By an opposite par- 
tisan it is implied, that if it was so, it was in con- 
sequence of his opinion hitherto maintained ; while 
a third represents the episcopal bench as being roused 
from their apparent insensibility to our author's merits. 
He has even obtained, though not, it is to be hoped, 
generally, the reputation of having satisfied the scru- 
ples of the Bishop of London by a long letter of ex- 
planation, to which has been attached an epithet not 
very creditable to the clear and direct independence 
which he is known to have maintained. But though 
such rumours seem unworthy of serious notice, as 
they do not go for much, it may yet be fit to state a 
circumstance which probably may account for such a 
report, and which, as it stands in a rough state among 
the copies of his letters, might have given rise to a 
little speculation on the part of Dr. Paley's friends. 
The copy of a letter is there to be found addressed, 
"My lord ;" but unfortunately written so illegibly that 
it cannot supply a satisfactory contradiction to such 
as are willing to believe in such relations. It begins 
thus : — " It is my duty and very much my wish to 
offer you any explanation in my power. Whether 

LIFE OF Dli. VALUY. 267 

there be indeed a future state at all, is so much the 
first question in religion, and lies so at the root of 
every other, that I confess it has all my life appeared 
to me to surpass all other considerations besides. 
Add to this, that it is precisely the question which 
alone almost dwells in the minds of those who are in- 
duced to read and reflect upon them * * * 
properly to deliver that evidence, first let it be di- 
stinctly stated * it is but to reduce them to 
order. 1st. Rules of life do not stand, I think, upon 
the same grounds * # # ' # 
2d. I come to the very point your lordship sug- 
gests. I laid it down as a rule to myself to propose 
# no doctrine of utility which was con- 
troverted * If I have erred in this, 
I have erred deliberately." 

There is much more of this, written in his usual 
scrawling abbreviations, so that it seems a vain at- 
tempt to make anymore out of the latter part (where 
hurry naturally enough may be expected to add to 
scribbling), when only so much has been made out 
from the beginning by repeated application. Inquiries 
have been made in various quarters for the original, 
as being both one of the most important of his letters, 
and also as being less conspicuous than usual for his 
characteristic and weighty brevity. His correspond- 
ence indeed was not at all remarkable for its interest 
or importance. It was rather made to serve the pur- 
poses of his most ordinary conversation, than of his 
more serious writing. But this, however written, 
or to whomsoever addressed, may serve to prove that 


there had at least been some previous application to 
him ; that there had been no backwardness in ex- 
plaining ; nor, if it was written without any previous 
communication, does it appear that there was any 
sort of intention expressed or implied, of shackling 
either side by any unworthy conditions. But the 
truth is — even if his own testimony, given in the de- 
dication of his last work to the Bishop of Durham, 
may not have its weight in showing how unlikely he 
was to have courted preferment, viz. " that it was an 
expression of gratitude for a great, unsolicited and 
unexpected favour" — that by the various letters here 
inserted from his patrons, it appears nothing but the 
most public considerations procured patronage for 
such a writer, and the writer himself was not called 
upon for concessions or explanations of any kind, as 
the grounds on which he might obtain such patron- 
age. But if it may serve any further purpose, it 
shall here be stated unequivocally, that he has often 
been heard to say, during the latter part of his life, 
without any more boast of his forbearance than acci- 
dental conversation might be expected to bring out, 
that he never applied, either directly or indirectly, for 
any piece of preferment, except for a small prebendal 
stall in Lincoln minster, which would have been given 
at any rate, to enable him to take the subdeanery ; 
nor is it easy to imagine how a man who, if he ridiculed 
anything, had certainly a most contemptible opinion of 
rooters, could set about the work. He knew both how 
to be a patron, and how to receive patronage by show- 
ing himself grateful for it; but he did not possess any 


arts, nor even qualifications, which were likely to draw 
it upon himself, besides the most plain and simple 
qualification of merit. After this serious notice of a 
tale, after all but frivolous, let it be seen how, in his 
usual style, he thought and expressed himself on this 
accession of preferment. " The Bishop of Durham," 
he writes to the Bishop of Elphin, " has given me a 
most substantial proof of patronage." 

He writes to his sister, to whom every secret of his 
condition in life was imparted immediately, in a letter 
from London, dated March 7, 1794, containing 
exactly the following and no more : 

" I really think, Betty, the bishops are bewitched ! 
Here 's another letter from the Bishop of Durham. 
The same post brought a letter from Carlisle, de- 
siring me to come down ; that was in extreme 

danger. Both letters I received at Cambridge ; set 
off in half an hour to Town, and having now seen the 
bishop, shall make the best of my way to Carlisle. 
Lord help us in this changeable world ! I don't 
dislike moderate bustle, but this is immoderate. 

" Write to Carlisle ; hope to hear all are well. The 
bishop says it is one of the best parsonage-houses in 
the kingdom. 

" Yours ever, W. P." 

He writes afterwards to Dr. Milner, the dean of 
Carlisle : 

" I saw the Bishop of Durham the day after I saw 
you. The reception was this : ■ Now don't speech 
me, but hear my speech. I have the same pleasure 


in giving as you have in receiving. This said, we 
will speak no more upon the subject ; now to busi- 
ness.' I told him I could answer for my patron ; that 
the Bishop of Carlisle had most handsomely given me 
a general liberty, and as to the Dean and Chapter, I 
had received your consent at Cambridge, and should 
receive the rest in the course of post." 

The latter part of the letter is here inserted for the 
sake of observing (what is blown up into something 
like notice, as if preferment was generally fated to be 
clogged with conditions), that the Bishops of Durham 
and Lincoln had requested that they might have the 
presentation to what he might vacate, and that the 
Bishop of Carlisle, by whose patronage he always pro- 
fessed himself most substantially served, had given 
him the power of taking advantage of any favourable 
change of preferment, with the observation, " that as 
he thought it impossible for him to do more, he 
thought it was the only effectual way of doing him 
service." But however gratified he was with the 
burst of patronage thus coming to him entirely upon 
the score of his public character, he was no less satis- 
fied with the result of what was to him, or perhaps to 
any one acquainted with the change of preferment, 
scarcely more than a private and general occurrence. 
This condition annexed to the offer of his patron 
produced rather a singular coincidence. By having 
the presentation of his Cumberland living transferred 
to the Bishop of Durham, he had the opportunity of 
seeing a most worthy and deserving old clergyman 


from the country, for whom he had a great esteem, 
restored to his only friend at Carlisle, and also the 
nearest and closest friend he had considerably raised 
both in wealth and dignity. To this friend, whom 
he had met at Mr. Law's (afterwards Lord Ellen- 
borough), in London, he was speaking of his fortunate 
rise, but lamenting that he had left his young family 
in such a condition that they might be turned out of 
house and home, at a moment's notice, before he could 
get home to protect them ; as he had just put his pre- 
bendal stall in the way of flying from under him. 
The first greeting he received was, " Then make your- 
self easy, they shall not be turned out ; for I am your 

His own expressions about this time were just such 
as might have been expected from him ; for they 
speak for his expectations being answered, for his 
being not only unanxious but unprepared for any 
change, and for his thinking himself well rewarded 
for his labours in his profession ; in short, for his not 
seeking any thing that might not seek him ; and for 
his not considering himself entitled to receive with- 
out all due return of gratitude. " He had now, he 
said, fallen on his feet at last, though he was obliged 
to break into a train of domestic habits and profes- 
sional pursuits, into which he had drawn his life for 
the last ten years ; he wanted much, he owned, to get 
his chickens round him, and wished only that they 
would let him be quiet." In writing to one of his 


friends, " I must," says he, " give you an account of 
the munificent present which the Bishop of Durham 
has made me. The living is not overstated in the 
bishop's letter. The tithes and glebe are now let to 
good tenants for 1021/., the tithes for 600/. ; and 
one of the partners in the bargain being just dead, I 
have found from his books that they have made for 
the three last years 750/. by the tithes, by letting 
them to the farmer ; so that I think it probable I may 
get 700/. for them. The glebe also is likely to be 
improved by a bridge which is just finished over the 
Wear \ and such a house ! I was told at Durham, that 
it is one of the best parsonages in England ; and that 
there are not more than three bishops that have better. 
There is not a shilling to be laid out upon it, and you 
might have rubbed it from top to bottom with a white 
handkerchief without soiling it. With the house, 
which, if it had been half as good, would have con- 
tented me as well, the garden and grounds are of a 
piece. There is nearly a mile I think of wall planted 
with fruit-trees ; i. e. a rich field of ten acres, sur- 
rounded with a well-gravelled walk, garden and shrub- 
bery grounds, commanding some pretty views of the 
banks of the Wear, two or three hot-houses and a 
green-house : coals five shillings a cart-full. We stand 
at the end of Sunderland, which is three or four times 
the size of Carlisle, but made into a separate parish. 
My house is about a mile from the sea ; fish plentiful ; 
market rather dearer than Carlisle ; fine country and 


good roads ; a clever old woman in the house. The 
Bishop of Durham advised me to get back to town as 
fast as I could. Believe me, See. &c." 

Of the subdeanery he says, " I hear nothing of it 
but good, except that I shall not receive a dividend, 
which is the chief thing, till Michaelmas twelve- 
month. It will be received after residence, but not 
till then. The patronage is considerable ; the chance 
of lives over and above. The last man got ^2000 
for one fine. I have settled for the furniture upon 
easy terms. I must be a deal of money out of pocket 
before I can be any in. But I console myself with 
the thought, that if any thing should happen to me 
so that I should be a loser by the change, it might 
be made up in some way to my family. If I live, it 
will answer, I hope, to them. The chief fault of my 
house is that it is too large. It is, in fact, two houses 
joined by a large lofty gaping hall, with a broad stair- 
case at each end j and to prevent coming down one 
pair of stairs and going up another, a gallery is made 
lately along the whole length of the hall. Nothing 
can equal the beauty of the cathedral, and the fine 
order in which it is kept. It stands at the top of a 
very steep hill, surrounded by a spacious close con- 
sisting of gentlemen's houses. This is the chief of 
what is called the upper town. What I have seen of 
the people I like much. They seem to be a well- 
bred, choice society." 

In the Easter of the same year (1795) he removed 
his residence from Carlisle to Bishop Wearmouth, 

VOL. I. T 


and soon after proceeded to Cambridge, for the pur- 
pose of taking his doctor's degree. The university 
offered him a mandate degree, but he chose to take 
it in the ordinary way. 

With his Concio ad Clerum, which he preached 
on the occasion, he appears to have taken consider- 
able pains ; but does not seem to have attracted any 
great degree of attention, nor from the choice of 
his subject, and manner of treating it, was it likely 
to be famous. Indeed neither the one nor the other 
is extraordinary, though the former savours a little 
of his taste for originality. It is not easy now to 
discover what train of reading or thinking led him 
to make choice of his subject. Another particular 
is also to be found in this sermon, which is of no 
unusual occurrence with him as a sermon-writer; 
viz. that the matter of his sermon seems, if not a per- 
version, yet certainly a curious adaptation of his text. 
This is taken from Hebrews xii. ; and from verse 18 he 
deduces the parity of miraculous interference by the 
Shechinah of the old and new dispensations, scarcely 
noticing the superiority of the one over the other, 
which that text is more generally understood to sig- 
nify. It should nevertheless be remembered, that 
his usual way of dealing with an argument was not 
to build half so much upon it as it would bear, in 
order to make sure at least of the groundwork. It 
was easy for him afterwards, as he does in the con- 
clusion, to bring it with other proofs to bear down 
the Jewish dispensation. " Caeteris itaque multis 


quae quidem hujuscemodi sermonis ratio haudqua- 
quain discutienda reciperet, consulto praetermissis, 
ad unum statuendum, exemplisque e libris Sanctis et 
nostris et Judaeorum desumptis confirmandum me 
sumo, per duas nempe quas Deus praecipuas generi 
humano tribuere dignatus est revelationes, quod ignea, 
ceu flammea vis divinam praesentiam comitata sit, 
significant, ostenderit. Haud vero dicerem hoc adeo 
fuisse solemne, ut alia Dei manifestatio prorsus esset 
nulla ; cum potius propositi sit nostri probare, idem 
illud et Mosaicae et Christianae legis promulgation! 
fuisse concessum, pariterque fere usu venisse." 

The instances of this " ignea vis," or Shechinah, 
which he produces from the Old Testament, are, the 
burning bush presented to the eyes of Moses on his 
first receiving his commission ; the pillar of fire that 
gave light to the Israelites on their deliverance from 
Egypt ; the descent of God's glory in fire on Mount 
Sinai at the giving of the law, and at the repetition 
of that miraculous presence ; the cloud or smoke 
veiling the appearance of splendour as it rested on 
the tabernacle ; the descent of God's glory at the 
consecration of Solomon's temple. " Eadem porro 
referenda esse censeo alia quaedam non dicam minoris 
momenti (qua enim trutina hoc genus ponderemus?) 
sed minus aliquanto aut diuturnitate aut splendore 
insignita," e. g. the splendour of Moses' face, the 
descent of fire upon sacrifices, both before and after 
the flood, the miraculous effulgence of the Shechinah, 
peculiarly so called, on the wings of the cherubim, on 

t 2 


which he observes, in his usual fair though un- 
sparing manner, " nonnulli pro more suo in hac ipsa 
re hallucinantur ; res ipsa tamen nee pondere caret 
nee verisimilitudine. Sic enim apud priscos Judae- 
orum scriptores opinio famaque hujus spectaculi per- 
crebuerint ut eorum votis precibusque Deus solen- 
niter audiat, 'Deus qui inter cherubos habitat.' Of 
the Urim and Thummim, " multa quanquam com- 
menti sint Rabbini, multaque de luce inde prodeunte 
nunc micante nunc vero obscurata tradiderunt, non 
habeo quod in medio proferre ausim. Quidni enim 
cum apostolo fateamur, in hac re, quemadmodum in 
caeteris Leviticis plerisque, proprie singulatimve nunc 
temporis dici non posse?" He then passes to the 
Christian age. " Videte igitur, sexcentis annis elapsis, 
specie signoque quam veterum simillimis in terras (ni 
audacius loquor) Deo redire visum est." He takes 
with Whitby, Macknight, Mann, and other com- 
mentators, for instances of the same effusion, the 
luminous appearance to the shepherds at the Nativity, 
and the descent of the Holy Spirit at our Lord's bap- 
tism, but on neither of these does he build much as 
decided proofs of. a "vis ignea ;" because the efful- 
gence in one case might be supposed rather to attend 
the presence of the angels, and the descent of the 
dove is at least capable of two constructions, though 
he leans to the actual bodily appearance of that bird : 
" Nee id prorsus negligendum, quod Evangelium He- 
braeorum dictum referat, lumen splendidum, ut pri- 
mum Jesus ex aqua esset egressus flumen Jordanis 

LIFE OF 1)11. PA LEY. 277 

ibi locorum cooperuisse. At vero non est quod in- 
certis immovemur, cum tria ad minimum in promptu 
sint exempla, quae in sacris litteris quoniam fusius 
sint exposita, huic sententia? clarius apertiusque sufr 
fragentur." These three are, the miraculous appear- 
ance at the Transfiguration, the descent of the Holy 
Ghost at Pentecost, and the divine interposition on 
the conversion of St. Paul. Of the first he says, " si 
nubem requiratis, quaa olim Mare ad Rubrum mon- 
temque Sinai sancto populo fuerat conspicienda, quse 
tabernaculo insederat, quae tandem, uti est verisimile, 
templi primi penetralia perpetuo adimpleret, Lucam 
adite ;" and he brings the words of St. Peter, 2d ep. 
i. 17, to prove that that apostle had this in view. 
" Quocirca Petrus, cujus ex memoria hujusmodi non 
potuit excidere spectaculum, nomen ipsum, quod ve- 
teris divina3 praesentiae signi esset proprium, consulto 
usurpare videtur, voce ad eum delata a magnified' 
gloria." His conclusion is brief, and as usual only 
to the point. " Hue denique res recidit. Cum 
epistola ad Hebraeos ostenderit nee templum, nee 
aram, nee sanctuarium, nee sacerdotem, nee sacri- 
ficium, de quibus praesertim gloriarentur veteris dis- 
ciplinae cultores, novae quidem abfuisse, hue quoque 
adjiciamus, quod gloria Jehovae, qua Mosis legationem 
toties illustrarat, Christi etiam munus comitaretur. 
Hie enim tanto majore quam Mosis gloria afFectus 
est, quant majorem habet, quam domus, is qui eum 

With the Latinity of this he seems, by the nume- 


rous corrections in his rough copy, to have been very 
careful, and for him even critically nice ; and con- 
sidering that it was written at a time and under cir- 
cumstances of life, when any thing was more likely 
to be fresh in his memory than an acquaintance with 
the Latin idiom, it may be brought forward as no 
bad specimen of his former familiarity with that lan- 
guage. By the way in which he appears to have 
renewed his acquaintance with the idiom, he shows 
the value he set upon it. There are inserted in 
his common-place book, about this time, more than 
twenty pieces of Latin themes on indifferent subjects 
corrected " ad unguem." 

After preaching the commencement sennon at 
Cambridge in the same year, he fixed himself at 
Bishop Wearmouth, between which place and Lin- 
coln he was afterwards to divide his residence ; he only 
was to remain the greater part of the year at Bishop 
Wearmouth. In consequence perhaps of this divided 
residence, as well as of the shortness of the interval 
between this and his death, he was not much known 
beyond his official capacity in either of these places. 
He assumed no habits but those to which he had 
been used before his removal, nor did he come more 
forward to court public notoriety, than as his station 
led him to departments and intercourse rather more 
elevated. But his home was at Bishop Wearmouth ; 
and here he tried as soon as possible to fix some sort 
of domestic plan for himself and his family, which 
was necessarily much scattered, and just at a time 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 279 

when it called for his peculiar attention. His time 
was necessarily much occupied with the various new 
duties to which he was called, and some little do- 
mestic afflictions which happened about this time 
seem to have harassed him much more than might 
serve to counterbalance any feeling of pleasure at his 
new public situation. " I bear up," he writes from 
Lincoln, " as well as I can, but I assure you I have 
enough to do with the various people I have been 
obliged to see, and the things I had to do, with 

poor never out of my mind." In short, the 

quiet enjoyment of his life was past, and he seems 
never to have regained an opportunity for the same 
sort of peaceful and retired amusements, which ap- 
peared to have formed the chief ingredients in his 
domestic happiness. This year was wholly given 
away to bustle and hurry, which by natural disposi- 
tion he was well enough prepared to enjoy, so long 
as he was obliged to undergo it ; but it may be sup- 
posed that he did not feel himself in his proper cha- 
racter, except in a certain regularity of private life, 
which allowed him to have his own time for his own 
thoughts. He was very glad to gather round him as 
soon as he could a set of regular family habits, from 
which during the remainder of his life he never turned 
aside. " Both experience and reflection," he ob- 
served, " had convinced him that his own happiness 
and that of his family would be greatly promoted by 
a union with a sensible and deserving woman." 
What he proposed to himself on this occasion is best 


seen by his own words, and they are very charac- 
teristic of his usual proceedings in the common con- 
cerns of life. He says, "he could not do his family 
so essential a service as to give them the example 
and society of an accomplished woman, and that 
there was not an individual in his family that would 
not be happy to make her so > and that he would 
have nothing to do with her money/' In the winter 
of the same year he married Miss Dobinson, of Car- 
lisle, kept his first residence at Lincoln in the winter 
and spring, and in the following summer returned 
home, to take upon him the duties of his living at 
Bishop Wearmouth. His rectory-house had during 
this interval been filled with the families of com- 
manding officers, and his barn had been fitted up as 
barracks for soldiers, who about that time fortunately 
returned from that disastrous expedition to Holland. 
With his parishioners he was always on the best and 
easiest terms, but not so intimately acquainted with 
their habits and manners as to feel closely interested, 
any farther than might concern a conscientious and 
steady discharge of public duty. His first business 
was to settle his tithes to the satisfaction of himself 
and, as he hoped (for they are his own words), of the 
whole parish. " I have let them altogether to six 
gentlemen for £ 700 for my time. They will parcel 
them out to the respective townships, and pay me my 
money to a day, and in a lump, so that I have ad- 
vanced them you see £ 100 a year. I believe I have 
the value of them at present, but I think they will 


improve, nay, they certainly will. However, I judged 
it best to set the parish and myself at rest ; half of 
them arise from potatoes. I have also advanced my 
lime-kilns to 100 guineas, and the tenant, who has 
laid £300 upon them since the time when the late 
rector's life was not worth half a year's purchase, 
thanked me for my moderation. My glebe, which is 
a fine one, and lets for about £200 a year, I have 
not yet touched. So that I get on swimmingly." 
These are particulars which are worth notice only as 
they have been made into an affair of some note by 
an unlucky witticism which he was in the habit of 
throwing out, and which is given by Meadley with 
perhaps less taste than seriousness. This, however, 
might have passed very well, had it not been by a sort 
of captious perverseness magnified into a grave re- 
buke by his opponent Chalmers, who says, " that it 
is difficult to suppose Dr. P. capable of saying any 
thing so unfeeling.' ' It was on the contrary quite 
according to Dr. P.'s usual manner to make such 
blunt speeches on all occasions, where he was con- 
scious that feeling was not at all concerned ; nor was 
it on any other occasion that such sentiments were 
heard to fall from him, nor in any other manner were 
they usually received than as the good-humoured be- 
nevolent sportiveness of one who could find amuse- 
ment in any thing. So much satisfaction did this con- 
tract give to the lessees, and so liberally was the matter 
conducted, that he had great pleasure in knowing 
that they not only took no unfair advantage of it in 


their dealings with the tithe-holders, but on one or 
two occasions actually applied to him to know what 
he would have them do with the overplus. On Dr. 
Paley's family leaving the neighbourhood, these gen- 
tlemen wished to pay a tribute to his memory by pre- 
senting a piece of plate to his representative. 

He still continued to be fond of general society, and 
visited and was visited by most of the surrounding fa- 
milies. With the parishioners in general, without any 
exclusion, he observed a cheerful and ready intercourse 
at all times, and seemed to feel as much interest in the 
company and conversation of an old Quaker gentle- 
man, whom he used often to invite to his house, as of 
those whom his station in the place obliged him to 
entertain as sumptuously and ceremoniously as he 
could. His wit, and talent, and pleasantry, made him 
a welcome guest any where ; and his apparent desire 
for information, and the keenness with which he en- 
tered upon any subject, made him a visiter worth at- 
tention, whether to a party of commercial men, or to 
a meeting on the most important public occasions. 
In a place of such mixed concerns as Sunderland, he 
had food enough for amusement and instruction, and 
he did not neglect it. At a certain hour every day, 
and on certain days in the week, he took his regular 
walks, rides, and stands, sometimes at his own garden- 
wall, which overhung the river, in order to observe 
the progress of the cast-iron bridge, which was at that 
time building ; and for this purpose he became ac- 
quainted with the architect, who took a pleasure in 

LIFE OF Dtt. PALEY. 283 

introducing him at all times into the workshops, 
where he carefully examined every pin and screw with 
which it was put together. At the end of the pier, 
in a stormy day, he would be found conversing with 
sea-faring men upon their way of life, and acquainting 
himself with their feelings and sensations in a storm, 
though they scarcely knew that they had given, or 
could give, any information. So for ship-carpenters, 
rope-makers, sail-makers, coal-heavers, fishermen, he 
had a train of inquiries, and an interest which was 
easily shown and improved to his own purposes by a 
little intercourse ; and on this account his conversa- 
tion was always rather sought after than rejected as 
not being in character. Though he was thought, by 
such whimsical amusements, to be odd, yet the dig- 
nity of his order was never likely to suffer in his 
hands, not because he never allowed (for that was 
out of his calculation), but because he never gave an 
opportunity for the least reflection. It was never 
likely to be suspected that he lost his self-respect. 
During his residence there he was not once either in- 
jured or offended in any way by any class of men, and 
considered the relation in which he stood with his 
parishioners as altogether on a larger scale than was 
likely to produce mutual acrimony or vexation with 
any party. Such were his duties in their considera- 
tion, that they were never interfered with ; and such 
were their employments and occupations in his consi- 
deration, that he was rather glad to lighten them by 
telling them how useful they were. So that, though 
little known in private among the people of his 


parish, he was yet much respected. He became more 
generally known, and more of a public character 
about this time than he was before, because he was in 
the way of a more extended society, and had more 
opportunity of enlarging his acquaintance with all 
descriptions of both public and private characters. 
He was visited, he used to say latterly, as one of the 
curiosities, and after his strangers had seen the bridge 
from a point below his garden (where from an open- 
ing of a deep and confined glen the spectator burst at 
once upon the expanse of an iron arch hanging as it 
were in the air above him), the pier, the port, the 
barracks, the Low-street, a sort of Wapping in Sun- 
derland, all of which were among his lions, he de- 
sired them to return and see him. Though he never 
paid much attention to the little courtesies and cere- 
monies of politer life, he was by no means deficient 
in any etiquette belonging to his station, and being 
neither inclined to affect any singularity, or assume 
any eccentricity, which might draw forth partial ad- 
miration, he readily found himself at ease, and wished 
to set others at ease, in order to come to free con- 
versation as soon as he could. In a place of so much 
traffic and trade, there were not many whom he found 
at leisure for desultory conversation, or much inclined 
to literature. Mr. Meadley was one of his most con- 
stant companions, both because he was much disen- 
gaged from the pursuits of the place, and being a man 
devoted to literary pursuits, possessed of much in- 
formation, and of great independence and correctness 
of character, laid him self out to be useful to the place 


in many ways. He always professed a great regard for 
Mr. Meadley's company and conversation. No man 
would have been better able to give a correct detail of 
Dr. Paley's sentiments and opinions on any great 
matter of importance which might arise about this time, 
had they possessed any great interest, or had he laid 
himself out at all to be the oracle of his neighbour- 
hood. But nothing was farther from him. No man 
delivered his opinions with more soundness and sub- 
stance, on any question of importance which might 
arise in his conversation with persons of any condition 
or station, but it was quite as if drawn forth at the 
moment. Though he was not unprepared by pre- 
vious deliberation, he was seldom induced by the de- 
sign of showing his superior penetration to utter such 
and such sentiments, as if they were to be made pub- 
lic. This at once speaks for the irrelevancy of bring- 
ing forward any chance sentiments on politics or re- 
ligion as tests of his being an adherent to party in 
either, and shows with still greater force the absurdity 
of prejudging a man's sentiments from the acci- 
dental intercourse with any party. One circum- 
stance which suggests this observation is rather cu- 
rious, viz. that of his more distinguished visiters at 
this place, — that is, of those more eminent and public 
characters who seemed to be attracted towards him 
rather from his reputation than any previous acquaint- 
ance, — most of them were well known to range them- 
selves with the Opposition. Whether this arose from 
their finding many of his sentiments in unison with 


their own, as no doubt he did many of theirs, or 
it arose from their fearless admiration of an inde- 
pendent and animated writer, with many of whose 
sentiments they did, though with some they did not 
agree, it would be idle to conjecture. They certainly 
in vain looked for a mind warped by any party preju- 
dices, and it might not indeed be disagreeable to them 
to find their political opponents as much praised as 
blamed, if they were ready to admire sincerity and 
consistency of habitual sentiment. But it may be 
rather supposed that there is a certain boldness, 
amounting almost to rashness, in many of his bursts 
of expression, which might suit well with the prin- 
ciple of some, who would go farther than he ever pre- 
tended to see > and at the same time such a fearless 
irocpprjcta and love of bare and unceremonious truths as 
even those would admire who wish to attack only the 
abuse of authority, and can without any timidity or 
reserve admire honesty, uprightness, and integrity, 
wherever they find them, especially when no arts or 
language of flattery are used to conceal them. He 
did not at this time profess an exclusive attachment 
for any of the sects or parties that divided public at- 
tention. He was still too fond of his own snugness of 
life to be interested in any matter of public agitation. 
His contemplations were larger than might be dis- 
tracted by the novel objects of a few years. But from 
the eagerness with which he entered upon any sub- 
ject, it was not unlikely that he might appear as much 
interested in any public, political, or religious ques- 


tion, or subject of debate, on an incidental mention 
of it, as if he had been a warm partisan all his life. 
It was rather his eagerness and his warmth, and his 
regardlessness of any thing but the truth, that seemed 
to convey an impression of zeal for any party which 
he thought right, than an admiration for, or attention 
to, either of the two great public characters of that 
day. As to his being inclined to follow or defend 
any of the political innovations, or any of the long- 
established prejudices for fear of innovating, it was 
quite beyond the object of his life, as he seemed to 
pursue it. He who can write at the very time of 
great political agitation *, " I will not say that no case 
of public provocation can happen which can move (a 
good man) ; but it must be a case clear and strong. 
It must be a species of necessity. He will not stir 
till he see a great and good end to be attained, and 
not indeed a certain, because nothing in life is so, but 
a rational and practicable way of attaining it. No- 
thing extravagant, nothing chimerical, nothing in 
any degree doubtful, will be deemed a sufficient 
reason with him for hazarding the loss of tranquillity, 
in which he earnestly, at least for himself, desires to 
pass the days of his sojourn on earth." No man who 
writes thus, and writes as he did honestly from his 
own convictions, can well be thought an advocate 
of much weight on either side. " A good subject 
having been accustomed to fix his eyes and hopes 
upon another world, a future state of existence, a 
* Fast Sermon. 


more abiding city, a tabernacle not of this building, 
his first care concerning the present state of things 
is to pass quietly, and peaceably, and innocently 
through it ; for although the name and pretence of 
religion have at divers times been made the name and 
pretence for sedition and unjustifiable insurrection 
against established authority, religion itself never 
was. Disputes may and have been carried on both 
with good and evil intentions about forms and con- 
stitutions of government ; but one thing in the con- 
troversy appears clear, that no constitution can suit 
bad men ; men without virtue and without religion ; 
because let such men live under what government 
they may, the case with them must ever be this," 
&c. &c. This seems, indeed, to have been the test 
with him of all religious and political creeds, viz. their 
utility to the purpose of morality. He was a very hero 
of morality, but in no other wise did he seek renown. 
" It is virtue and virtue alone which can make either 
nations happy, or governments secure." 

He has been indeed throughout this account of his 
life represented as shining more in his private cha- 
racter than in any other. If he was eminent in any 
public capacity, it was accompanied by the best pos- 
sible feeling, a perfect unconsciousness of it. But he 
was not in truth so much of a public character as to 
be worth notice under such a term. The sentiment 
that seems to have governed his private feelings and 
his habits of thinking was consistent with his cheer- 
ful and benevolent views of life. " It is a happy 


world after all." His domestic habits during this pe- 
riod were much of the same kind as have been before 
spoken of. It may be mentioned here again, that as 
the plan of them seemed to embrace most of his com- 
forts, and in his views gave him the best opportuni- 
ties of usefulness, by allowing him time for thought 
and contemplation, so it was carefully fixed and ad- 
hered to. Yet he seemed rather to strive at render- 
ing his life as peaceable and serene as he could, than 
really to have attained any great enjoyment by this 
change. Very soon after his first coming to Wear- 
mouth, he began to arrange the employment of his 
time so, that when he was not necessarily absent from 
home every hour should have its employment. As 
on every occasion he attempted to bring himself to a 
plan, so he acted in this most methodically. Thus 
the history of every day became the history of the 
remainder of his life. His favourite maxim was, 
* Learn to husband your pleasures ;" and so remark- 
ably regular was he in his recreations, as well as in his 
study, that his own family, knowing him at all times 
to be fond of society, often indulging in it, and not 
unfrequently amusing himself with the more trifling 
pleasures of an easy life, have often been surprised 
how and in what manner those works were produced 
which procured him such attention and respect. At 
this stage of his life he had disposed his time as 
carefully as if he had but a month to live : — in his 
garden he limited himself to one hour at a time, 
twice a day ; in reading books of amusement, one 
vol. i. u 


hour at breakfast, and another in the evening ; one for 
dinner and his newspaper : — and the consequence of 
this was, that such pleasures remained undiminished 
to the last. His public duties had their own time, as 
far as it was possible to accommodate circumstances to 
such a method j at least they seldom made any altera- 
tion in his domestic life, as far as was apparent to 
those about him. His professional pursuits rarely in- 
terfered with the time devoted to his family, or to 
society ; neither were these last suffered to interrupt 
his studies. His health was at no time in his life 
sufficiently strong to do without management ; and 
though he was utterly regardless of his own personal 
convenience, and so far from using any unnecessary 
caution, was, partly from inclination and partly from 
pretended conviction, negligent of the common means 
of guarding against the disorders of his constitution 
by diet or medicine ; yet he was not less sensible of 
its craziness, than patient and resigned under the 
most painful attacks. This constant liability to vio- 
lent disorder led him to a certain method in his 
rides and walks, in order that he might also have cer- 
tain hours in his study. " I seldom," he writes to a 
friend, two years after his arrival, " go out of the 
gates but to justice-meetings, and upon public busi- 
ness, except when we visit. The field and garden is 
my ride and my walk, my exercise and my amuse- 
ment. The wind blew my hat to the top of the 
house the other day, where it stuck in a gutter, or it 
might have been in Holland by this time," &c. &c. 


His taste for the objects and works of nature, rather 
than any skill in natural philosophy, led him still to 
be fond of gardening, though it now rather became a 
more gentlemanly work of superintendence. For an 
hour after breakfast and dinner he had his regular 
walks of musing and recollection, with which he 
let nothing interfere, nor any one share, except his 
youngest daughter, who, with a basket under her arm, 
to pick up any thing that he chose to put into it, fol- 
lowed him, " haud aequis passibus." At such times 
he seldom spoke a single word ; but now and then he 
used to surprise his little companion by bursting out 
into the most immoderate laughter, or mouthing out 
scraps of poetry, or sentences of prose, — quite enough 
to show that these were seasonable exercises both for 
his mind and body. With the handle of his stick in 
his mouth, now moving in a short hurried step, now 
stopping at a butterfly, a flower, a snail, &c. ; at one 
instant pausing to consider the subject of his next 
sermon, at the next carrying the whole weight and 
intent of his mind to the arranging some pots in his 
greenhouse, or preparing with the greatest gravity to 
remove some stick or stand that offended his eye, he 
presented the most prominent feature of his mind 
very obviously, but made it perhaps happy for his 
public character that he chose to be alone. In the 
evening he seldom conversed much with his family, 
though he would not but have them round him, and 
left them quite at liberty to employ such times in their 
own way. He contrived, along with some whimsical 

u 2 


and capricious habits, to keep up their relish for such 
domestic scenes with so little appearance of singu- 
larity, and if not with good-humoured playfulness, yet 
with such obvious pain if they were not relished, that 
there was no member of his family who would not 
have thought it equally unfeeling and undutiful to 
have suffered either themselves, or any other, to have 
noticed his singularities. 

In his study and his church he was ever intent 
upon the great object of his life, upon rendering him- 
self useful in his station. The population of his parish 
was about nine or ten thousand ; and, as in other large 
places, the more active discharge of ordinary parochial 
duties devolved upon a curate, whom he found on the 
spot. He seemed no less willing to take upon himself 
the responsibility of management than to pay the 
utmost deference and respect for any assistance or 
superintendence of his curate. He was remarkably 
attentive to and fond of preaching, so long as his 
health permitted him, which was but for a short time ; 
but the interest he took in those duties was not by any 
means confined to a sermon. In estimating the per- 
formance of public duties of his church, the character 
and matter of his sermons are to be regarded, rather 
than any inference drawn that this duty was confined 
to little more than a weekly sermon. His great aim 
and interest seemed to be to rouse the indifference, 
and excite the attention of his congregation to think 
and feel for themselves. After all he gave the most 
satisfactory proof of the weight and solidity of his in- 

LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 293 

structions, by never expressing a sentiment that he did 
not conscientiously endeavour to adopt into his own 
practice. Out of his church, it is scarcely necessary 
to observe, that he did what could reasonably be ex- 
pected of any incumbent in so large a parish ; and not 
only so, but what any incumbent might be thought to 
satisfy himself with doing, allowing only for the or- 
dinary dissatisfaction which is incidental to the most 
exact discharge of public duties. But his mode of 
conducting these public duties of his station was in all 
respects the same as at any other stage of his life. He 
seemed to prefer, and to think himself called upon to 
prefer, the observance of an established order, and the 
silent and even tenor of proceeding, both in great and 
small matters, to any trifling addition or alteration of 
his own recommending. He set himself to encourage 
the charity and Sunday schools of his parish and his 
neighbourhood, as established institutions ; and, find- 
ing them rather in a slumbering condition for want 
of proper support, gave weight and significance to an 
old and common subject, by taking it upon more ge- 
neral grounds. " Many," he observed, in a sermon 
preached on the occasion, " are apt to fall into a dis- 
position of this kind j — that if they cannot do by their 
charity some great good, something at least consider- 
able enough to make the whole country feel the be- 
nefit of it, they will not attempt, or join in attempt- 
ing, any thing. Could an opportunity be presented 
to them of serving the public at large, and that essen- 
tially and effectually, by their contribution or assist- 


ance, they would assist and contribute ; but those 
small portions of public good which can be effected 
by the limited purposes, and upon the few objects, of 
a private institution, are not enough it seems to merit 
their attention, or to provoke good works. Now that 
disposition is always to be lamented, because it always 
ends in doing nothing at all ; and it is founded upon 
a mistaken principle, the want of knowing or consi- 
dering the actual lot and condition of human life. 
The common happiness is sustained, not by great 
exertions, which are in the power of a few, and hap- 
pen rarely even to them, but by great numbers doing 
every one a little, every one something in his par- 
ticular province, to his particular neighbourhood. 
This is the way in which Providence intended society 
to be carried on, and beneficence to be exercised. Yet, 
according to this plan, it must happen, that, if we 
extend our views to the public at large, the separate 
effects of any single institution, and still more of any 
single person's assistance, will appear to be very mi- 
nute ; nevertheless it may be our proper share in the 
great work of public felicity. It may be, however 
contracted or small, the circle and province which we 
are appointed to fill. Charitable and public-spirited 
endeavours are to be carried on at the same time 
under a great variety of forms, and by a great number 
of individuals ; the result of the whole will be the 
public benefit, and of a great magnitude. We are 
contributing to the general result, and in the way and 
proportion we ought to contribute, when we promote 


and support, according to the manner of our faculties, 
and of what we can spare, any useful and rational 
establishment which is set up in the neighbourhood 
to which we belong." 

This appears to have been a very favourite subject 
with him, both here and elsewhere ; and was usually 
handled in a way that showed him attentive not only 
to the particular objects proposed by the institution, 
but to the general interests of morality. He did not 
call much upon the feelings of his congregation, or 
endeavour to rouse any enthusiasm which might after- 
wards be found less satisfactory, though more profit- 
able at the time. 

With dissenters, and particularly the dissenters of 
his own parish, the majority of whom were either 
Wesleyan Methodists, or Independents, he did not 
think himself concerned either to contend or unite 
in any struggle for or against that liberty of con- 
science, which, in his construction, constituted tolera- 
tion. What is said of his decided hostility to any 
species of persecution, and of his general persuasion 
of the great benefit, rather than the practicability, of 
complete toleration, is not only to be confirmed, but 
is proved from the whole tenor of his writings, and 
sentiments, and practice. But that this proceeded 
from any want of vigilance on his charge ; from his 
having no objection against them as dissenters ; from 
an ignorance or regardlessness of the proselyting spirit 
of particular sects ; from a vacillation in his own sen- 
timents on the points of dissent, as far as that may 


arise from a peculiar view on some points of doctrine $ 
from a sort of smoothing liberality which is gendered 
by a wish to conciliate dissenters rather than by any 
real conviction of the necessity of a large and compre- 
hensive plan of toleration ; — that his conduct towards 
them proceeded from any of these would be quite an 
unworthy surmise. From various parts of his writings, 
both published and unpublished, may be brought at 
least as many arguments against, as in favour of, a 
departure from established institutions, if his autho- 
rity be consulted by those of either orthodox or hete- 
rodox sentiments. Thus, he states in a manuscript 
note, found in his Greek Testament, on Matt, xiii, 
14 : " You insinuate yourselves into people's houses, 
into the houses of women, and widows especially, as 
Methodists do, by your apparent sanctity and long 
prayers, and make a property of them by presents 
and substance you get out of them." He knew that 
they were not free from the arts of proselytism, though 
he would have readily acknowledged that this charge 
was not confined to them. He has expressed himself, 
in his Charges and Sermons already published, as un- 
favourable to their " want of judgment and love of 
power." He was conscious that there was a great 
difference in the calmness and solemnity, and good 
sense and strength, and authority of the discourses 
of Christ in the Gospel, and the manner in which 
most of their devotion and preaching were conducted; 
" that it is one thing to edify (the common people) 
in Christian knowledge, and another to gratify their 


taste for vehement, impassioned oratory ;" that "he, 
not only whose success, but whose subsistence de- 
pends upon collecting and pleasing a crowd, must 
resort to other arts than the acquirement and com- 
munication of solid and profitable instruction ;" — 
that " our sermons are in general more informing and 
chastised, both in matter and composition, than those 
of any denomination of dissenting teachers." He was 
not disposed to " cut off the decent offices which the 
temperate piety of our church has enjoined as aids 
of devotion, calls to repentance, or instruments of 
improvement ; much less to contemn and neglect, 
under the names of forms and ceremonies, even those 
rites, which, forasmuch as they were ordained by the 
divine founder of our religion, or by his inspired mes- 
sengers, and ordained with a view of their conti- 
nuing in force through future generations, are entitled 
to become parts of Christianity itself. " He makes 
a bad choice of his subject who discourses upon the 
futility of rites and ordinances ; upon their insigni- 
ficancy, when taken by themselves, or even insists too 
frequently, and in terms too strong, upon their in- 
feriority to moral precepts. We are rather called 
upon to sustain their authority." He has observed, 
" that some of the most judicious and moderate of 
the presbyterian clergy have been known to lament 
that there is no gradation of order in their constitu- 
tion." He noticed often, both in his sermons and 
lectures, those " who believe or imagined to them- 
selves certain perceptible impulses of the Holy GTiost, 


by which in an instant, t and in a manner no doubt 
sufficiently extraordinary, they are regenerate and 
born of the Spirit, they become new creatures, they 
are made the sons of God who were before the 
children of wrath, they are freed from sin and from 
death, they are chosen, that is, and sealed without a 
possibility of fall, into final salvation." He places 
amongst the corruptions of Christianity, amongst the 
causes which have contributed to the progress of in- 
fidelity ; 1st. the absurdities which many national 
churches have taken into their system ; 2d, the several 
lucrative tenets which induce the suspicion of craft 
and design in the whole, such as purgatory, prayers 
for the dead, the efficacy of offerings and donations 
to the church ; 3d. the placing of Christianity on 
wrong foundations. Thus, the Quakers and Mora- 
vians refer you for the proof of Christianity to the 
motion and witness of the Spirit in your own breast. 
Now a man who hears this, and can feel no such 
motion, has nothing left for it but to turn infidel." 
Such passages are quoted, and more might be easily 
produced by a very cursory view of his own writings, 
to show the tone of his sentiments on this subject ; and 
with him this was the most fixed rule of his conduct 
that can be brought forward ; though it may be easy 
to produce in any writer, and more especially one so 
full of reasoning and argument, some more trifling 
acts or random sentiments, which may seem at vari- 
ance with some of his grave and well weighed ex- 
pressions as an author. The same writings will also 

LIX^E Or DR. PALEY. 299 

supply abundant motives for the forbearance and 
moderation which he showed in practice. His con- 
duct as a clergyman was certainly formed upon a 
more true and enlarged principle of toleration than 
is often found, or at least than is often placed to 
the credit of the established clergy, in their inter- 
course with those of opposite sentiments. ■ From his 
college lectures we may collect what his sentiments 
were in earlier life, though expressed in the same 
strong and substantial manner. " If you should 
have dissenters in your parish, make it yourbusiness 
by your behaviour, conversation, and preaching, to 
possess both them and your own congregation with 
a sense of the unimportance of those points which 
divide you ; and of the convenience, and consequently 
the duty, of giving up such points to one another for 
the sake of one common public worship. Above all 
things, abstain from ridicule or reflection upon their 
persons and teachers ; from reproaching them with 
the conduct of their ancestors or predecessors of the 
same sect ; from idle reports of their absurdities or 
immoralities ; from groundless suspicions of their in- 
sincerity ; and particularly from charging them with 
opinions which they disown, or consequences they 
do not deduce." In his defence of the consideration 
of the propriety of requiring subscription to the ar- 
ticles, he answers the obvious but harshly-pressed 
plea of his opponent, Randolph, " that such disturb- 
ances and divisions were not owing to the governors 
of the church, but to the perverse disputings of 


heretics and schismatics," by a consideration that is 
equally obvious, " that there is such a thing as op- 
pression as well as resentment, abuse of power as well 
as opposition to it ; and it is too much to take it for 
granted without a syllable of proof, that those in 
power have always been in the right, and those who 
withstood them in the wrong." In after life he 
showed a delicacy and a courteous deference to any 
thing like seriousness of principles, or substantial 
objections, even though frivolous. He was even im- 
patient at any petulant or unprovoked insinuations 
against dissenters. He was cautious and grave upon 
the weakest and most ridiculous display of religious 
sentiment made by the very meanest of them, if that 
sentiment had the appearance of honesty and sin- 
cerity; if it had not, he was content with less ex- 
posure than he would have made of any of his own 
weaknesses, and what he would have called his ab- 
surdities. " None but religious and pious people 
have these scruples and whimsicalities, and therefore 
the utmost tenderness and indulgence are due to 
them, even where there is less foundation for them 
than there may at first appear to be." On his first 
arrival at Bishop Wearmouth, the great overflow of 
dissenters was noticed to him with alarm, and some- 
thing like preparation for measures against them, and 
with the expectation that he would at least sympa- 
thise with the complaining tone in which the appli- 
cation was made. " I am heartily glad of it," an- 
swered he ; " for, looking at the population of this 


parish, and the smallness of your congregation at 
church, which, if it was filled, would not hold one- 
third of the parish, what must become of them if 
they were not in some way connected with religious 
persons and religious concerns ?" The maxims on 
which hang his reasonings in favour of toleration, 
and which are used against a vast weight of argument 
on the opposite side, viz. " that any form of Chris- 
tianity is better than no religion at all ; that of dif- 
ferent systems of faith, that is best which is the truest; 
that if different religions be professed in the same 
country, and the minds of men remain unfettered and 
unawed by intimidation of law, that religion which is 
founded in maxims of reason and credibility will 
gradually gain over the others to it ; that this is 
superior to any other quality which a religion can 
possess ;"— these formed sufficient reasons why he 
should be expected, and why he was found, to carry 
his views of men's professions at once to a more im- 
portant point than would allow of any indulgence of 
natural feeling, or a mere temporising policy. There 
is a very obvious resemblance which may here be no- 
ticed, between such a pervading principle and that 
which is said to have distinguished his first and re- 
vered patron, the Bishop of Carlisle. It is recorded 
on an elegant mural monument in the cathedral of 
that city, in a well-turned epitaph written by his son, 
the Bishop of Elphin : " Quo autem studio et effectu 
Veritatem, eodem et Libertatem Christ ianam coin it ; 


religionem simplicem et incorruptam nisi salva liber- 
tate, stare non posse arbitratus." 

His communication with Dr. Coke, which is men- 
tioned by his biographer as taking place at Bishop 
Wearmouth, was purely accidental, nor was it marked 
by any thing but a civil apology, in answer to a re- 
quest that he would countenance the cause of mis- 
sions, for not being able to assist a fellow-labourer 
with any thing but his good wishes, as his health was 
then very precarious. In the same note he invited 
him to his house to spend the evenings, and expressed 
himself well pleased with his general information, as 
well as benevolence ; and was rather satisfied than 
convinced with Dr. Coke's argument for the expe- 
diency of those ranting exhibitions, in preference to 
his own opinion in favour of a calm and rational pro- 
pagation of the Gospel. " It cannot be, sir," — said 
Dr. Coke, " without ardour and enthusiasm you could 
not either excite the attention of a set of creatures 
like savages, nor persevere in the arduous task." 

Amongst other notices of public events that called 
forth any characteristic trait of his mind and feeling, 
if not partly connected with his general principles of 
conduct, as well as his liberal treatment to those of a 
differing creed, may be mentioned his attention to 
the emigrant clergy of France. A great number of 
these had been received and maintained by voluntary 
contributions, before they were or could be provided 
for by any parliamentary grant. A temporary asylum 


had been formed for some of them, under government, 
in the barracks at Monk Wearmouth. Dr. Paley was 
particularly struck with the condition and deportment 
of many of them, with whom he was in the habit of 
conversing in his walks and near his garden. He 
used to lament much the want of his acquaintance 
with the French language, as he lost much valuable 
information by it, and what little he did obtain he 
collected with difficulty from their, and his own, im- 
perfect knowledge of colloquial Latin. He was glad, 
however, to offer them the use of his grounds, and 
his garden supplied many a cart-load of vegetables 
for their soup. In 1792, on their first emigration, 
he had advocated their cause with his accustomed 
brevity and pithiness, when their case was recom- 
mended in the regular way to the notice of the clergy. 
He preached a sermon for their benefit in all the 
churches in which he had any concern, in which he 
compared their case with that of the stranger in the 
parable of the good Samaritan. " The case of the 
French clergy driven into these kingdoms is now by 
public authority introduced to your notice. I will not 
take upon me to assert, that since our Saviour's time 
to the present, there has not been any case of indi- 
viduals, or of any large body of men, which bore a 
nearer resemblance to the case here described ; but 
none certainly has come more truly either within 
the scope and purport of the parable, or of what 
our Saviour meant to teach by it, than this does. 
To trace out the similitude, it is by no means neces- 


sary to enter into any political speculation whatso- 
ever. It is enough to advance, concerning them, 
that their sufferings prove their sincerity, and that 
their condition is most helpless. Whether they are 
right or wrong in dissenting from the new order of 
things that had taken place in their country, I again 
repeat that their sufferings proved their sincerity, 
and that their condition is most helpless. When 
they were violently despoiled of what they had been 
taught to call their own, and to reckon upon for 
their subsistence and support, they submitted as well 
as they could to their misfortunes, and remained in 
the bosom of their country. It was only when oaths 
were proposed to them, which shocked the principles 
in which they had been brought up, that they re- 
fused to comply, and by this refusal, which ought to 
have been venerated even by enemies, brought upon 
themselves such outrages as compelled them to fly 
for their lives. They were driven therefore from 
their country, entirely stripped, not of wealth, which 
they had long parted from, not of the slender supply 
which in the wreck and robbery of their revenues 
had been reserved to some of them, but of the very 
necessaries of human subsistence, food and raiment. 
When accident and nearness of situation, more pos- 
sibly than plan or intention, (for what plan could be 
formed amidst such confusion and surprise?) had cast 
them upon our shores, the public compassion was 
moved by a new spectacle of human misery — many 
thousand clergymen without means of subsisting for 


a single week. It was impossible to send them home 
to be butchered by their enemies. It was equally 
impossible to see them perish here. Application 
therefore was speedily made to the bounty of the 
rich and great of the English clergy, and made with 
such effect, that £ 26,000 was raised for their relief 
by about 4000 benefactors. This fund has been 
husbanded with rigid economy, for no more has been 
allowed for the weekly support of each clergyman, 
than what friendly societies allow to their disabled 
members. The poor objects of this bounty have done 
every thing in their power to make it go far by ex- 
treme sparingness, and when any one of them have 
accidentally obtained succours from their friends or 
fortune abroad, by conscientiously returning what 
they had received here. They appear to have de- 
served by their behaviour the humanity they have 
experienced, if peaceableness of demeanor, frugality, 
thankfulness, piety, and contentment can be found 
deserving. These were all the virtues in their power, 
and these they appear to have exercised. It was 
soon, however, found that the unavoidable wants of 
such a number of men formed a demand which could 
only be supported by general contribution, by every 
one contributing a little. And I believe the expe- 
rience of many ages has proved that there is no other 
way, by which any large exigency can be supplied. 
This, therefore, is the ground of the present appli- 
cation, not made general, till rendered necessary by 
the occasion, and not made till very large and liberal 
vol. i. x 


sums subscribed by particular persons had been ex- 
pended ; and it is made in a form, in my opinion, 
perfectly unexceptionable, for every shilling of it is 
given without any deduction whatever, or any ex- 
pense attending the collection. 

" Under these circumstances a more Christian 
charity can hardly be proposed. It is like that of 
the Samaritan for the wounded stranger; it is for 
exiles, persecuted and suffering under something 
more than the ordinary instability of worldly affairs, 
the ordinary changes and accidents of life, or even 
the ordinary visitation of human calamity. It is for 
men who have seen better days, who are fallen by no 
fault of their own, wanderers in a foreign land, with- 
out home, without friends, without families to apply 
to, ignorant of our language, incapable of labour, 
many of them aged, weak, and infirm, all of them 
completely destitute and helpless." 

Being called into so large and populous a neigh- 
bourhood, he was constrained to become an acting 
magistrate ; and as in other duties, so in this, he 
found it necessary to give some time and attention 
to prepare for it. This, as has been already ob- 
served, was more in his way and according to his 
own taste, than any other use of his natural powers. 
His conduct as a magistrate, Meadley says, has been 
reflected upon, and it perhaps might be imprudent 
to notice it here, as it is only mentioned by that 
writer very slightly, as a charge from which he may 
easily be defended. But there is nothing to be ap- 


prehemled from looking at characters like this too 
closely. His irascibility and unmanageable decision 
of view which is hinted at, was not at all unlikely to 
be attached to him in a place and neighbourhood 
where science and skill and penetration were confined 
very much to the trade and commerce of a sea-port, 
and where shrewdness of mind, and at the same time 
largeness of intellect, was little exercised on general 
subjects. Here he undoubtedly felt his superiority, 
and was allowed to bear a good deal of sway at the 
weekly session, where his decisions were usually at- 
tended to, though given with often a harsh quickness, 
— the result of views which might not be obvious 
to any one but himself. " Accusations," his biogra- 
pher Meadley very well observes, " are frequently 
preferred against men of clear and comprehensive in- 
tellect, when engaged in the examination of petty 
causes, which the folly, ignorance, or knavery of the 
parties or their witnesses alone render difficult or 
complex. For the warmth which men of genius or 
principle may sometimes betray in such situations 
great allowance should be made for superiority in 
talent and virtue, usually accompanied with an energy 
of feeling which common characters neither possess 
nor appreciate *." This warmth, however, if it was 
displayed in any thing any more than manner, which 

* Apud quosdam acerbior in conviciis narrabatur, ut bonis 
corais, ita adversus malos injucundus. Caeterura ex iracundia 
nihil supererat. Secretum et silentium ejus non timeres. Ho- 
nestius putabat offendere, quarn odisse. Tac. Vit. Jgr. 

x 2 


is a supposition more obvious to those acquainted with 
the habits of Dr. Paley, was not known nor suspected 
to have betrayed him into any decision, which he 
might have thought erroneous, had he used more 
self-possession. He had seldom occasion either for 
obstinacy to maintain his point, for petulance to 
check, or for the arts of authority which showed him 
jealous of investigation. He was firm and resolute, 
but it was a firmness principally concerned in pro- 
moting rather general good than trifling amend- 
ments ; so far as that wish might not interfere with 
any established order of things in itself unobjection- 
able. In his exertions, noticed by Meadley as directed 
in a more public way than was usual with him against 
the indiscriminate and heedless granting of licences 
to publicans, he went upon grounds much more likely 
to be known to him than to the rest of the magistrates, 
who were in the habit of attending the quarter ses- 
sions. He had observed, that the most of the cases 
which called for his interference, as an individual 
magistrate, arose from squabbles which were fomented 
at the retail gin-shops and low public-houses in the 
town and neighbourhood of Sunderland, and he did 
not think the danger and unpopularity of what was 
termed innovation carried weight enough against the 
injury to morality in his own parish. He was not 
likely to admit, that if morality was in any degree 
endangered by an abuse of what was even in itself 
not immoral, any consideration was to be had as to 
the degree of danger or dislike which might be in- 


curred by the removal of it ; though such inferences 
are not unlikely to be drawn by those who look at 
the doctrine of expediency, as unfavourable to direct 
morality. He made an appeal to the grand jury of 
the county of Durham on this point, rather from 
feeling that such indifference, or, to say more, such 
designed forbearance, would be attended with farther 
consequences than seemed to be foreseen by the local 
magistrates, and therefore that it called for public 
notoriety and public countenance, before the evil 
could be removed. It was not so much any obtrusion 
of himself into notice (for in truth the attempt was 
not attended by any conspicuous display) which made 
him thus advocate a cause in which after all he was 
unsuccessful, as a desire to discharge a public duty, 
which came under his own immediate concern, and 
which was almost naturally the subject of his thoughts 
from the very direction of his character and writings. 
In common with other parts of England, during 
the scarcity of 1799, resolutions were entered into 
by most of the opulent and respectable inhabitants of 
the county and city of Durham, to relieve the dif- 
ficulties with which the poor and labouring classes 
seemed threatened, by stinting themselves in the use 
of bread corn, and their horses and cattle in the use 
of other grain. On a meeting being held in July of 
that year, for the purpose of devising means of lighten- 
ing the general consumption, as well as providing 
soup and other substitutes for the poor, Dr. Paley 
drew up five or six resolutions, the object of which 


was more easily and familiarly stated than is usual 
in county meetings, " to refrain from the use of 
puddings, pastry, and any sort of bread, except or- 
dinary wheaten bread ; to discontinue the giving of 
oats, beans, or peas to horses ; to procure oatmeal, 
rye meal, beans, peas, and rice, to sell at a cheap 
rate ; and to recommend to gentlemen to apply the 
leavings of their tables to soup shops, to be provided 
and supported by the townships and parishes." This, 
like the projected plan of lessening the consumption 
of sugar in order to check the slave trade, was at- 
tended with at first indifferent success, though rigidly 
followed up in his own family and elsewhere. He 
used to remark the jealousy of the lower classes on 
any interference, and the perverse eagerness with 
which they availed themselves of any thing like pro- 
hibited articles. Though in many instances the pres- 
sure of hunger was felt in no inconsiderable degree 
amongst the large population of that parish, and as- 
suredly relieved in a great majority of cases, both with 
the most prompt assistance and with the gratitude of 
the persons so relieved ; yet here, as in other places, 
the soup was occasionally despised before it was made 
more savoury by a little better humour, and a more 
general understanding amongst the lower orders. 
Oatmeal, an article of food in many parts of England 
preferred before any other, was offered and refused ; 
or when it was taken, was sometimes thrown on the 
ground before his gates ; and he used to observe 
that during all that time of scarcity, when he was 


weighing out his own brown bread to his family, he 
had the mortification of seeing the poor people pass- 
ing to and from the ovens in his parish with fine 
white cakes, dressed in all the pride of butter and 

His residence at Lincoln was marked by no event 
which called forth any peculiar characteristics of his 
mind. He entered with his usual ardour and vivacity 
into the interests of the place, as far as was con- 
sistent with his situation in the church, took his part 
in the public embellishments, and entered into a very 
general society, by no means otherwise than suf- 
ficiently enlightened, agreeable, and social. As sub- 
dean of Lincoln he was governor of Trinity hospital, 
in West Retford, which is endowed with an estate in 
that neighbourhood of more than five hundred acres 
of land, for the support of sixteen brethren. When 
he succeeded to the subdeanery in 1795, he found 
the bailiff to the estate, who had just then been 
elected by the brethren themselves without any con- 
currence or consultation with the governors, occupy- 
ing one of the hospital farms, and therefore, by a 
consequence common enough in charitable institu- 
tions, he foresaw that the charity was liable to abuse. 
This double capacity of agent and tenant met his 
decided disapprobation ; he strongly protested against 
the measure, and refused to sanction their appoint- 
ment of a bailiff under such circumstances. On find- 
ing, however, thaf the majority of the brethren had 
the power of appointing, and that there was no pro- 


vision directed for the disposal of any surplus funds, 
Dr. Paley laid the case before the court of chancery, 
which pretty readily decided, that the same man 
could not be agent and tenant at the same time. To 
this concern he gave himself up very closely and 
diligently, during almost the whole time of his retain- 
ing an interest in the subdeanery, and managed the 
whole business of his trust not only like a master but 
in an active business-like manner. Here might be 
given a specimen of his talents for business, and of 
his general correspondence, as well on that as on the 
most indifferent matters, by a selection from some 
letters which have been returned for this purpose; 
but beyond local interest, they seem to possess no 
claim upon public attention. The only observation 
worth making at the present time is, that he seems 
to have been heedless altogether about the outward 
dress of his correspondence, as well as the language 
in which his sentiments were conveyed. Provided that 
the right impressions were given, he cared not whe- 
ther few or more words were committed to the most 
comely gilt-edged paper or the first bit of torn sheet 
that came to hand. Thus on a very shabby piece of 
paper, much like the wrapping paper from a grocer's 
shop, is to be found the following and no more. 

" I send you 's nomination, which you will 

please to deliver him. 

M Your account of the difference of the admea- 
surement is very probable ; but you perceive that it 


will depend entirely upon the proposal which may 
come in whether any question arise upon it or not. 
I am, dear sir, 

Yours very truly, 


" P. S. I take it for granted that is unmarried ; 

if he be married, hold your hand with the nomi- 
nation, and let me know." 

On another fair sheet. 

" Dear sir, — -I have just time by the post to say, 

that I think it would be advisable to join Mr. , 

and how much I am obliged to you. 

Yours faithfully, 

W. P. 
" — Never offered to give up either the farm or 
bailiffs place. 

Yours, Sec." 

This was not the only concern he took in their 
welfare. He was more especially anxious to make 
these poor men peaceable, good-humoured, and con- 
tent with one another, and more particularly cau- 
tioned them in a set charge, and in one or two per- 
sonal conversations with them, " against wasting the 
remainder of their days, which were so well and so 
beneficently provided for, in the indulgence of sloth, 
quarrelling, drunkenness, idleness, or whatever might 
pervert the benevolence of the founders." 


Dr. Paley appears to have been considered, in the 
general society of Lincoln, eminent for the union of 
great talents and plain common sense, joined to a 
most agreeable and cheerful view of every thing and 
every body about him. " It was impossible" (says his 
friend and physician, in a letter to the present writer 
of this), " for any one not to be amused and instructed 
by his conversation. His anecdotes were rendered 
the more entertaining from the manner in which 
they were delivered, by a peculiarly animated counte- 
nance, and a characteristic curling of the nose. He 
had nothing of those forbidding and overbearing man- 
ners which are too frequent attendants upon superior 
talents and abilities. On the contrary, whilst he 
never failed to entertain his hearers, he was courte- 
ously attentive to any observation or remark made in 
return. He had a knack of eliciting information from 
men of all descriptions. He himself once said, that he 
never met with but one man, whose brains he could 
not suck. This was a French refugee, now no more, 
whom accident had fixed at Lincoln, as a teacher of 
the French language. That general philanthropy and 
liberality of sentiment for which Dr. Paley was par- 
ticularly distinguished, afforded the Catholic priest 
a frequent seat at his table ; and it was owing more to 
Dr. Paley's ingenious defence of him, than to com- 
miseration, that he remained so quietly at Lincoln ; 
for he had been accused of tampering with the reli- 
gious tenets and opinions of its inhabitants ; and one 
day in particular it was alleged that he had converted 


one of our divines, upon which Dr. Paley, who had 
hitherto remained silent upon the subject, seeing the 
serious turn such an accusation was taking, exclaimed, 
' He convert any one ! he never converted any thing 
in his life; except a neck of mutton into chops !' 
Never was the old adage, ' Ridiculum acri fortuis,' 
more clearly demonstrated than upon this occasion, 
as from that moment a general acquittal was pro- 
nounced. The time of Dr. Paley's residence as sub- 
dean of Lincoln commenced at Christmas, when his 
arrival was always anticipated by his friends with the 
most lively pleasure. He kept a hospitable table, 
which his friends never left without being highly 
entertained and delighted. Dr. Paley became a mem- 
ber of a literary society, which had been carried on 
at Lincoln for upwards of half a century, consisting 
of the residentiaries, and other literary gentlemen. 
These meetings were held once a fortnight at a prin- 
cipal inn, where, after taking coffee, choosing books, 
and a little chit-chat, the evening was closed with a 
barrel of oysters and a rubber of whist, which Dr. 
Paley highly enjoyed. I have known him come to 
those meetings after having experienced one of those 
paroxysms of pain to which he was very subject, when, 
with spirits unsubdued, he kept the table in a roar. 
Indeed it was impossible for any one to bear excessive 
pain with greater resignation and magnanimity than 
he did. The society, customs, and habits of the in- 
habitants of Lincoln were so agreeable to Dr. Paley, 
that he always looked forward with pleasure to the 

316 LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 

time of his return, and did not quit it without regret. 
And though the term of his residence expired at 
Lady-day, he did not leave Lincoln till the beginning 
of May. It was to him a great delight to see Lin- 
coln, as he used to say, in all its glory, and to view 
its numerous gardens and orchards in full bloom and 
blossom. As a preacher, no one expressed himself 
more strongly, or in words better adapted to his 
subject. His language was forcible, his reasoning 
strong, and his doctrine sound ; and when it was 
made known that Dr. Paley was to ascend the pulpit, 
the cathedral was always well filled." 

But this part of his public and private character 
cannot be very much an object of concern in com- 
parison with what was clearly in his view during the 
greatest part of this time. His health did not long 
suffer him to continue his task of preaching from the 
pulpit, or indeed any of the active duties of a resident 
clergyman, which might call for great personal ex- 
ertion. His constitutional ailments increased so much 
upon him, that about the year 1800 he was obliged 
to discontinue public speaking or reading altogether, 
and to avoid, as much as he could be prevailed on to 
avoid, even any exercise that was likely to produce 
bodily fatigue. His attention, therefore, was imme- 
diately drawn towards usefulness of another kind ; 
and the Bishop of Durham having, as he hints in the 
Dedication to the Natural Theology, suggested to 
him, that his study might enable him to satisfy those 
public duties which his church could no longer ex- 


pect, he did not hesitate at all about the choice of his 
subject. But it is a fact that could not well be made 
known by himself, if he was conscious of it, that this, 
which was his last work, was of all others the most 
suitable, as well to the prevailing bent of his mind 
towards contemplation and accurate observation, as 
to the habits of thought in which he had freely and 
fully indulged during the whole of his life. It was 
not only the result of an easy plan of study during his 
ill health, or the employment of his leisure, when he 
could ill bear more difficult engagements, but maybe 
said to be the very propension of his mind left to 
itself. It has been indeed already hinted that he was 
more inclined, when at rest, to silent, steady con- 
templation on the works of nature, than to any other 
kind of exercise. All his amusements were of this 
sort. In his walks, his rides, and garden, when his 
hands were busy, his mind also was at work to some 
purpose. He had from the natural strength of 
reason much too strong a conviction of the responsi- 
bility of rational creatures, as well as of the import- 
ance of time and opportunity, to allow even his 
amusements to be useless, if any good could be gained 
from them to any body but himself. In this view 
his Natural Theology may be looked upon as at once 
the most original and most entertaining of his works. 
In this, the author is at last quite himself. It never 
was doubted by those of his literary friends who were 
best acquainted with his mind after he left college, 
but that it was strongly impressed with a talent for 


observing, and collecting, and storing up illustrations 
on this subject. During the time he spent at Car- 
lisle, it was generally conjectured that such a work 
would appear at some time in some shape, as his more 
private and confidential conversation generally took 
that turn, and even the remarks and observations 
which he was most fond of showed the same line of 
inquiry. His early friends were at no loss in sup- 
posing that his Evidences would not be his last pro- 
duction, and when the Natural Theology appeared, 
they were much amused in discovering not only his 
own manner in conversation, but many of his most 
familiar observations embodied there. He certainly 
had nothing like lectures to go upon, 'though some- 
thing of that kind has been partially noticed, from a 
distant resemblance of his concluding chapter to 
Clarke, on the Being and Attributes of God. He 
seems nevertheless to have used something of the same 
way of collecting from thoughts which he had made 
use of in his early sermons, what might be of service 
to him here. Independent of various passages which 
are scattered about in his other works, and which 
speak for the tendency of his thoughts, it appears from 
some of the sermons now published, and composed so 
early as 1779, that the goodness of the Deity had 
been so prepared, very much in the way the chapter 
on that head now stands. Another sermon also with 
the date in 1785, contains the Statement of his Ar- 
gument in the Natural Theology. In one of his 
Chancellor's Charges to the Clergy of the Diocese of 


Carlisle, he recommends natural history as a study- 
proper for clergymen. " A way and habit of re- 
marking and contemplating the works and mysteries 
of nature," he says elsewhere, " is a delightful, and 
reasonable, and pious exercise of our thoughts, and is 
often the very first thing that leads to a religious dis- 
position." In one of his visitation sermons preached 
at Durham, amongst other employments of study he 
observes upon natural philosophy, — " nor let it be 
said that this is foreign to Christianity ; for the 
presence in the universe of a Supreme mind being 
once established upon these principles, (geometry and 
astronomy, &c.) the business of religion is half done. 
Of such a Being we can never cease to think. We 
shall receive with readiness the history of his dispensa- 
tions with deeper submission on any intimation of 
his will. Of the several branches of natural history 
the application is more obvious. They all tend to 
the discovery or confirmation of a just theology. They 
inspire those sentiments which Christianity wishes to 
find in her disciples." Allowing, however, for much 
previous inclination, and it may be added some pre- 
vious preparation for a work of this kind, he was in- 
duced by the circumstance of being necessarily de- 
barred from the active duties of his profession to put 
into execution what had hitherto perhaps been only 
half formed ; and he had employment enough, or 
made enough to satisfy him that he was using his 
time and talents to the furtherance of useful and ra- 
tional piety. As soon as he began to fix upon this 


work as an object, nothing escaped his observation 
which could in any way supply him with a hint or 
observation. He used to take from his own table to 
Jiis study the back-bone of a hare, or the pinion of a 
fowl, or some little bone in the head of a fish ; and 
on coming home from a walk would pull out of his 
pocket a stone or a plant to illustrate what he had 
himself found, or seen advanced by others without 
sufficient minuteness. He collected facts and ob- 
servations from almost all the common treatises, large 
or small, upon his favourite subject. He seems not to 
have been at all scrupulous about the weight and re- 
spectability of the authors from whom he took many 
of his remarks and observations. Provided the au- 
thority was such as satisfied himself, it was of little 
consequence to him where he got it. Indeed it was 
not very necessary for his subject, and least of all for 
his mode of treating it, either to stuff himself with 
much learning, or to treat of it in any other way than 
what might be adapted to the most obvious and every- 
day observation. There is such a compression of 
thought, and concentration of view, as might lead to 
the notion that he entered upon his subject with even 
more scientific views than he laid claim to ; and it 
has surprised many who did not allow for the deep 
penetration and keenness of view which marked his 
mind, to find him so well acquainted particularly with 
the anatomy of the human frame, which, though dif- 
fering in some immaterial points, such as terms and 
descriptions, from the modern anatomical writings, 


is not, it is said, materially affected in the accuracy 
of its detail. He, however, had little previous ac- 
quaintance with what may be called the scientific 
parts of his subject before the period now spoken of, 
and his knowledge seems to have been derived from 
many sources ; if we may judge from what remains of 
his rough draft. There are three or four large manu- 
script books filled with observations and short sub- 
stantial hints taken from various authors, and in the 
order in which they are here set down : Boyle, Gre- 
gory, Cheselden, Derham, Ray, Monro, Derham's 
Astro Theology, Adams, Wilkes's Principles of Na- 
tural Religion, Search, Sturm, Goldsmith, Lesser, 
Smellie, Religious Philosopher, Spectator, Seed, Na- 
ture Displayed, Hervey, Addison, Keill, Watson, 
St. Pierre, Cappe's Causes of Atheism, Memoirs of 
Natural History, by the Royal Academy of Paris, 
1701, Priestley, Maclaurin ; and these are headed 
by the following memorandums made for himself: 
" N. B. In this collection all marked X are in- 
serted j those marked D have not got a place found 
for them ; those marked -H- are supposed to be of 
more value ; so with other books of collection." It 
is clear, therefore, how far he might be said to make 
choice of a subject, or to have given his thoughts a 
determinate direction, when, during two or three 
years, he was giving his particular attention to a 
course he had already pursued, and to the systema- 
tizing of his labours. But if such, almost necessary, 
preparations for his undertaking led him to take ad- 
vol. 1. y 


vantage of these second-hand sentiments, and, in- 
deed, if his subject did not require more of research 
than observation, it is still not easy to detract from 
his merit as an original writer. The treatment of 
his subject is entirely his own throughout. He gives to 
it so much entertainment and interest by striking out 
a new application of the matter he had collected, by 
much acute and minute observation, by the clearness 
and familiarity of his comparisons and illustrations, 
by clearing his subject from the difficulties of tech- 
nical terms, by reducing the discoveries of science to a 
level with ordinary understandings without injury to 
the credit of the science itself, that more originality 
might not have served his purpose so well. Thus, if 
the book be opened promiscuously, we find, in follow- 
ing him on the circulation of the blood, such bursts 
as these — " What enters at the mouth, finds its way 
to the fingers." When giving a description from 
KeilPs Anatomy, — " Consider what an affair this is ; 
the aorta of a whale is larger in the bone than the 
main pipe of the water-works at London-bridge, and 
how well does it execute its office ! An anatomist, 
who understood the structure of the heart, might say 
beforehand that it would play, but he would expect 
that it would always be liable to derangement, or soon 
work itself out. Yet shall this wonderful machine 
go night and day for eighty years together, at the 
rate of one hundred thousand strokes every twenty- 
four hours.'' Again, in describing the transfusion 
of aliment, " here it meets the river, there it dis- 


eliarges itself into a larger vein, the whole route can 
be exhibited to the eye, nothing is left to be supplied 
by the imagination, or conjectured. Simply for a 
passage, these voluminous bowels, this prolixity of gut 
seems in no wise necessary." Again, " for the pre- 
paratory grinding the gizzard lends its mill, and as all 
mill-work should be strong, its structure is so, beyond 
that of any other muscle belonging to the animal." 
Of the larynx, " such," says he, " is its structure, and 
we may here remark the almost complete success of 
the expedient, viz. how seldom it fails of its purpose, 
compared with the number of instances in which it 
fulfils it. Reflect how frequently we swallow, how 
constantly we breathe. In a city feast, for example, 
what deglutition, what anhelations ! yet does this little 
cartilage, the epiglottis, so effectually interpose its 
office, so securely guard the entrance of the wind- 
pipe, that whilst morsel after morsel, draught after 
draught, are coursing one another over it, an accident 
of a crum, or a drop slipping into this passage ex- 
cites in the whole company not only alarm by its 
danger, but surprise by its novelty. Not two guests 
are choked in a century." 

He seems not to have thought of any addition to 
his works beyond a few amendments or alterations in 
future editions. Such as an Index now prefixed to 
his Natural Theology ; which, if not drawn up for his 
own use, as a sketch of his plan, was probably pre- 
pared after the publication of the first edition, at the 
suggestion of the Bishop of Elphin. And here it may 

y 2 


be proper, on the introduction of a name so intimately 
and affectionately connected with the life of Dr. 
Paley, to notice a fact rather curious in itself, and 
much to the present purpose, because it is one which 
he would himself have been much more inclined to 
avow than to conceal, had it not seemed immaterial to 
him as an author and a friend, viz. that on this his 
favourite work, and on this the plaything as it were 
of his mind, and more calculated to appear as his own 
proper production than any other of his works, he 
availed himself of some assistance from the Bishop of 
Elphin. He acknowledges, indeed, his obligation to 
Mr. Brinkley, Andrews* professor of astronomy in 
the university of Dublin, who was intimate with the 
Bishop of Elphin, and described by him, in one of his 
letters to Dr. Paley, " as one of the mildest of men, 
and at the same time an excellent mathematician and 
astronomer." His communications, indeed, seem to 
have been more full than were inserted in the body 
of the work. Neither is it very clear how far Dr. 
Paley made use of his friend's talents for observation 
and originality, which appear to have been by no 
means inconsiderable. 

It can probably add little to the fame of this learned 
and unostentatious, and single-minded prelate to 
bring forward what was never intended to attract any 
reputation ; but as the public have had little oppor- 
tunity of catching the complexion of his talents, the 
insertion of some of this auxiliary matter may con- 
tribute to the interest as well as amusement of the 


reader *. At any rate it may serve as a specimen by 
which he may judge how far this assistance went, 
although from the hints here given, it seems to have 
been scarcely embodied in the work. 

The first letter on the subject will rather confirm 
what has been surmised of the commencement of the 
work. It is dated 1797, and forms the first part of 
what follows. 


" I have bought a book, and began to make col- 
lections illustrative of the arguments for final causes, 
viz. the evident contrivance and fitness of things for 
one another in many points of natural history. 

" Here's an instance of my own : 

" In the largest feather of the wings of an eagle I 
have counted above 500 little laminae or rays on each 
side of the shaft of the feather ; and in each ray, as 
I have found by means of a good double microscope, 
there are at least 1000 little hooks or teeth, which 
must all fall exactly into the interstices made to re- 
ceive them, or the feather will appear ruffled. If you 
separate the ray, you will readily perceive by their 
motion the teeth I mean, and if you smooth the 
feather with your finger, they will immediately fall 
into their places. Here then we have 2 X 500 x 

* What is here offered collectedly might perhaps have better 
stood in their original form of letters as an appendix, had it not 
been more according to the plan proposed in the beginning to 
give a connected account of the writings of Dr. Paley. 


1000, or a million of intentions actually executed m 
the construction of one feather. Consider the number 
of feathers of a bird, and the number of views and 
intentions will be astonishingly great How they 
are fastened at the extremity of the teeth, I know 
not, as my microscope does not sufficiently show. 

" On this subject may be added, that it is re- 
marked by Maclaurin and others, who have speculated 
on the most advantageous form of the sails of wind- 
mills, that they should be fixed on the axis at the 
angle of 54° 44', and that this angle should increase 
from the axis, and the ribs of the sail should have a 
twist, so as to lie in different planes. Both the twist 
and the shortening of the ribs are found in the wings 
of birds, so that he who contrived them understood 
maxima and minima. As to mechanism, look at the 
wings, wing-cases, and the feet and claws of insects. 
Every earwig has wings, and those most curiously 
folded up under two short shells or wing-cases. The 
hinges of the wings and joints of the antennae which 
are about it are very neat. 

" The hand of man is a master-piece of mechanism. 
One general method of discovering design and con- 
trivance in the present constitution of things is by 
making any change in them, ' cccteris manentibuSy 
and we shall find it will always be for the worse. 
Make a change in any part of the human body, e.g. 
take a finger-nail, and instead of having it at the 
back of the finger, suppose it fixed on the fore-part j 
how inconvenient for handling, and in many other 


respects would such a change be ! In your chapter 
on divine contrivance, you must have an article on 
the solar system, which no one can describe more 
forcibly or eloquently. It is * opus sapientissimiy 
and you should have a cut of it, as likewise of many 
other things which cannot well be made intelligible 
without plates. 

" It is best that water should be the universal fluid, 
though many would imagine it better that the rivers 
should run with wine or oil. But if they did, the 
first consequence would be the destruction of all fish ; 
the second, the destruction of all vegetables, and of 
course of all animals. Did rivers run with wine or 
oil, the rains would be oily or vinous, which would 
kill all plants. A curious circumstance relative to 
the waters with which the earth is replenished, is the 
constant round they are travelling without ceasing. 
The rivers discharge themselves into the sea ; from 
the sea are exhaled those vapours which form the 
clouds. These clouds descend in showers, which 
penetrating into the crevices of the hills, supply 
springs, which springs flow in little streams into the 
valleys, and these uniting and augmenting become 
rivers, which in return feed the ocean. So there is 
an incessant circulation of the same water, not one 
drop probably more or less now than at the creation 
of the world. 

" Again, air is the medium by which vapours are 
raised from the sea, and there is a circumstance in 
the process of evaporation which is a striking proof 


of Providence. The circumstance is this — that at 
the same time that air attracts the aqueous particles, 
it repels the saline. Hence all rains, even those that 
fall at sea, are always fresh and sweet. If salt had 
been as soluble in air as water is, we should have had 
no such thing as fresh water. The rains would have 
been salt, and would have destroyed all plants and 

" Near three parts out of four of the earth are 
covered by the sea, and there is wisdom in this pro- 
portion perhaps. If the surface of the sea were less, 
the evaporations which are made from that surface 
would be less, and the rivers smaller and fewer, and 
the earth would not be sufficiently moistened and 
watered. Lessen the sea, and you increase no doubt 
the land, but that land for want of moisture would 
be a barren sand and desert, in which neither men 
nor beasts could live. What would become of com- 
merce and the communication between different parts 
of the world, if the sea did not exist in the extent it 
does at present ? 

" There is wisdom in making the heart an invo- 
luntary muscle. Had the action of the heart been 
subject to the command of the will, and we could 
have stopped its motion at pleasure, there would have 
been no end of suicides, and as there would have 
been no external marks, they would have been un- 

" What an immense workman is God ! in miniature 
as well as in the great. With his right hand, per- 


haps, he is now making a ring of a hundred thousand 
miles diameter to revolve round a planet like Saturn, 
and with his left is forming a tooth in the ray of the 
feather of a humming bird, or a point in the claw of 
the foot of a microscopic insect. When he works in 
miniature every thing is gilded, polished, and perfect ; 
but whatever is made by human art, as a needle, 
&c. &c. when viewed by a microscope, appears rough 
and coarse and bungling. The works of nature differ 
materially from the works of art in superiority of 
workmanship and wisdom. It requires art and skill 
to make a statue, but much more to make a man, 
the joints and nerves, to lubricate the joints, and faci- 
litate their motions, &c. Our mechanism is confined 
to the adjustment of the parts of dead matter to one 
another, but God kneads heat up with his mechanism, 
mixes chemistry with his composition, and unites 
spirit with matter. That parents are not properly 
the makers of their children is evident, because they 
know neither what they are making nor have made. 
A woman with child knows not whether the foetus be 
a boy or a girl, or whether she carries twins or not. 
God is the greatest of all electricians, chemists, &c. 
&c. He had employed electricity in the atmosphere, 
and given it to the torpedo and electrical eel, long 
before Franklin knew any thing about it. He has 
given phosphorus to the glow-worm and the fire-fly, 
and he has not been inattentive to so minute a thing 
as the comforts of the smallest order of birds, having 
universally given them a bed of black down next their 


bodies, let the external colour of their feathers be 
what it will ; so he knew that black was the warmest 
colour. As the surface of a little bird is much greater 
in proportion to its bulk than that of a large one, it 
was necessary that they should be warmer clad than 
large ones, and in this shocking cold weather they 
feel the utility of this black down and basis of their 
feathers. The cold is in proportion to the surface, 
and if a turkey were divided into a number of wrens, 
the surface of all the wrens would exceed the surface 
of the turkey in proportion to the diameter (any 
homologous line) of the turkey to that of a wren. 
If a globe be divided into a number of little spherules, 
and the diameter of the globe be to the diameter of 
a spherule as n. 1, the sum of the surfaces of the 
spherules will exceed the surface of the globe in the 
same ratio of n. 1, and so of any similar bodies. This 
observation of the black down being constantly next 
the skins of little birds struck me lately, and I think 
there must be design in it, as it is not the case with 
large birds. Vale at quantum valere potest. 

" Of all the small birds which winter with us (from 
the snipe downwards) if you clip off the tip of the 
feathers which form the colours of the birds, you will 
find the remainder of the feathers uniformly black. 
When I first observed this, I took it for granted, that 
the final cause of it was to keep the bird warm, by 
keeping in the heat arising from the heart, and cir- 
culation of the blood. The use of clothes is not to 
imbibe heat from the sun, but to keep it, and retain 


what is evolved from the circulation of the blood. 
Black is always said to be the warmest colour, and 
Dr. Franklin, in some of his philosophical works, as- 
serts that liquor will heat sooner, and keep hot longer, 
in a black mug than a white one. Heat is supposed 
to have an affinity to black, and it has been observed 
that most, if not all bodies, turn black before they 
burst forth into a flame. Dr. Priestley, in his Lec- 
tures on Experimental Philosophy, p. 147, says, that 
the organs of respiration are larger in birds than 
other animals, and that they contribute to keep them 
warm. What he writes there will be well worth read- 
ing, and will be a good instance to show, that He 
who invented the lungs (which Hunter did not know 
any use of) understood their nature perfectly, and 
was an excellent chemist. Their absorbing vital air 
and rejecting azote, is a very curious contrivance for 
heating the frame. 

" The wings of many insects (the libellula, or 
dragon fly, the musca chamelion, the ephemeron, 
&c. &c.) are prepared in water to be in the air. In their 
grub state they could no more live in air than a fish ; 
and in their fly state they would perish in water, 
though a little while before it supplied them with 
food and life and motion. The larva of the libellula 
lives two years underwater before it undergoes its 
transformation. The larva? of the libellula are very 
active, and furnished with very strong jaws. Lin- 
naeus calls them, crudeles insectarum aquatilium cro- 
codili. In all larva? the wings of the future fly may 


be discovered by a careful dissection. In the com- 
mon cabbage caterpillar the future butterfly is en- 
closed in the body of the caterpillar, and in the chry- 
salis state, you may see the wings under their cover- 
ing with the naked eye very plainly. The fly is 
always enclosed in the grub, and the transformation 
of insects is only the casting off of temporary coats, 
cases, and coverings, or a kind of masquerade dresses. 
The oddity is that they should change in many in- 
stances the element they live in, as water for air. 
Might not the title of your work be * Natural and 
Philosophical Theology ? 9 With respect to a motto, 
I submit one of the following to your consideration. 
In the sixteenth Essay of Bacon, De Atheismo, there 
is a good motto, I think, for your work, — ' Minus 
durum est credere portentosissimis fabulis Alcorani 
Talmudi aut Legendse, quam credere huic universi- 
tatis rerum fabricae mentem non adesse ;' and he 
immediately adds, ' Itaque Deus nunquam edidit 
miraculum ad atheismum convincendum, quoniam 
opera ejus ordinaria huic rei sufficiant,' or this — 
4 Qui Deum in natura non vident, non solum na- 
tione carent, sed etiam sensu, Avicenna. Natura nihil 
est aliud quam Deus, Labienus. Caecum esse oportet, 
qui ex optimis et sapientissimis rerum structuris non 
statui vident fabricatoris omnipotentis infinitam sapi- 
entiam et bonitatem ; insanum, qui profited nolit." 
Or, for aught I see, ■ The fool hath said in his heart 
there is no God,' might make a proper motto. In- 
fidelity is always the disease of the heart and not of 


the head, and the grand cause of it is vice, and an 
unwillingness to submit to the restraints which re- 
ligion imposes, which the infidel terms shackles. The 
old heathen was a character totally different from the 
modern infidel. He had the greatest reverence for 
an oath, was generous, and had a number of good 
qualities often in his composition ; whereas the mo- 
dern infidel is an unprincipled selfish mortal, who 
pays not the least regard to an oath, and is ready to 
commit a crime from which he expects either pleasure 
or profit, when he has a chance of doing so with im- 
punity. If he comes in your way, treat him with 
hard arguments and hard knocks. When Bentley 
and Warburton gave them such flagellation as they 
deserved, there were very few of that vermin ; but 
from the time divines fell to flattering and compli- 
menting them, as too many have done, they have 
multiplied exceedingly, and swarm in all quarters. 
You will observe that the infidel, by the by, is the 
most credulous of all features, for he believes that 
feathers, and flowers, and worlds can make them- 
selves ; that at a certain period of time all mankind 
were infatuated, and valued neither pleasure nor pro- 
perty, nor even life itself, but threw all away for 
nothing but a senseless story about a resurrection. 
He charges us with credulity at the time that he be- 
lieves all manner of nonsense. 

" How goes on your excellent work? I intended to 
have read Dr. J. Young's Bakerian Lecture, and sent 


you some extracts from it on the mechanism of the 
eye ; but have been too idle to do any thing. Dr. 
Derham, whose chapter on the eye is well worth your 
perusal, observes with respect to the eyelids, that the 
hairs of them grow but to a certain commodious length, 
and need no cutting, as many other hairs of the body 
do : also that their points stand out of the way, and in 
the upper lid bend upwards, as they do downwards 
in the lower, whereby they are well adapted to their 
use. Here we may learn how critical and nice the 
great Author of Nature hath been even in the least 
and most trivial convenience. You will have readers 
whom such observations will suit. Though your 
forte is recapitulation, and the conclusion of your 
work excellent, yet I would not have you think of 
writing your last chapter now ; defer it to the second 

" f JSfon regredi est progredi.' Maintain your 
ground and stick to regular gentle exercise (especially 
riding round your field) and Nature will set herself to 
rights, and restore you to your usual health. If you 
had strength to throw out gout, it would relieve all 
the wrong sensations in your stomach. You have 
wrote and done more to improve the age you live in 
than any of your contemporaries ; and when you have 
finished your present work, which is infinitely wanting 
for the confutation of French and English atheism, 
you should take out a writ of ease, write no more, 
and study only your health. As to Buffon's ' silly 


hypothesis, there cannot be a better refutation of it 
than your own. None but Frenchmen (and those 
very weak ones) ever give the least credit to it." 

Most of this was written previous to the publication 
of the Natural Theology. The same writer says, in 
a letter dated Oct. 1802, 

" I am reperusing your excellent work, and, dectes 
repelita placebit. I do not perceive a particle of 
laudanum in it from beginning to end, and there is 
as much spirit in the conclusion as in any part. It 
will supersede Ray, Derham, and Nieuwentyt, will 
give a check to prevailing scepticism and atheism, 
and is calculated to do an infinite deal of good. It 
is exactly such a work as the world wanted ; the 
arguments are prop* Vf ioned to every understanding ; 
many of the observations entirely new, and all treated 
in a new way, and expressed in your very best man- 
ner. It will certainly be the most popular of all your 
works ; and now you have completed your system so 
well, you should rest from your labour. Your ar- 
guments for the divine goodness are so strong, that 
not only our reason is convinced, but as Barrow would 
say, ' we even touch and feel it with our senses.' 
The following lines from Cardinal de Polignac's 
Anti-Lucretius, an excellent poem, and worth your 
reading, if you have never read it, might possibly 
serve for a motto to your book. 


' Nam quae non machina claraat 

Auctorem ; attentas si quis modo praebeat aures, 

Cuncta Deum produnt, atque alta impressa sigilla. 

Lib. 5, snb fine.' 

The cardinal was a violent Anti-Newtonian ; his at- 
tacks on Newton are the only weak things in his 

" In page 406 you say, * Light passes from the 
sun to the earth in eleven minutes.' It comes in 
eight minutes, or 8' 7" more exactly. Now the 
mean distance of the sun is about ninety-six millions 
of English miles. Light therefore travels at the rate 
of twelve millions of miles in a minute, which gives 
one, I think, a better idea of its tremendous velocity, 
than the old comparison of the cannon ball. You 
have robbed the moon of its atmosphere, which is a 
trifle. — It certainly has one. — §Jj least so later astro- 
nomers say. I will scribble the margin of my 
copy any little remarks that may occur in reading, as 
you desire, and send them to you. In so interesting 
a volume there should be as few inaccuracies as pos- 
sible. In p. 545, if you intend Sallust's words, they 
should be, ' in maxima fortuna minima licentia ;' 
which is better, I think, than the ' quaque' (which 
is in addition) and f minimum licere.' Seneca, I be- 
lieve, has this expression, * Magna fortuna, magna 
servitus.' Have you seen the advertisement of Dr. 
Priestley ? His heart, I am told, is set upon the 
work ; but it does not meet with the encouragement 


he had a right to expect. Considering his domestic 
misfortunes, how he is to be pitied ! Let me hear 
how you do. By all means use exercise ; if possible, 
on horseback, if not, in your carriage. I should have 
been dead before this time if I had not kept the ma- 
chine a-going by gentle exercise. 

" I am most affectionately yours, 

" J. Elphin." 

What follows is chiefly made up of corrections sug- 
gested by this much valued friend, along with many 
from Mr. Brinkley, on some of his astronomical ob- 
servations at Chap. 22. 

The circumstances under which he finished, and 
indeed it may very fairly be said, begun this work, 
add a great interest to it for those who, like this cor- 
respondent, were anxious for his health. He had 
been long struggling with those attacks which are 
the usual symptoms of diseased viscera, and this con- 
stitutional disorder had gained so much upon him, 
that his intervals of ease became few and far between. 
It was quite admirable at such times to observe, not 
only how lively were his animal spirits, but how his 
mind, quite unsubdued, seemed to labour to show 
itself as happy as could be with the very privilege of 
existence ; but even this was not equal to the calm- 
ness and patience and composure which he showed 
under the severest bodily sufferings, even at the very 
time when he was busily engaged in contemplating 
and describing the benevolence of the Deity, and 

vol. i. z 


the provisions for man's enjoyment. That this in- 
deed was known in the neighbourhood, appears by 
an extract given by Meadley from Fenwick's Life of 
Dr. Clarke *. During the short time which elapsed 
between this publication and his death, his time was 
spent much in the way already described. It does 
not appear that he was sensible of so much decay in 
his mental or bodily strength as might make a total 
cessation from study desirable, or lead him to think 
that by humouring his disorder with ease and in- 
dulgence, he had any chance of mitigating it. It 
gave him frequent warnings of its serious inroads on 
his constitution ; but so gradual were its approaches, 
that he scarcely seemed to alter any of his plans, 
either public or private, so long as it was possible for 
him to enjoy the hopes of communicating or receiving 
any good. 

About this time a report became prevalent, that 
he was fixed upon to fill the vacant bishopric of 
Gloucester. Though this may be thought a ground 
to be trodden only with the greatest caution and de- 
licacy, at least by any member of his own family, yet 

* Dr. Clarke was, in Dr. Paley's opinion, one of the ablest, 
and at the same time the least ostentatious, physicians of his 
time. He died shortly after Dr. Paley had first begun to find the 
benefit of his prescriptions. If after this date he be said to have 
enjoyed any tolerable renovation of his constitution, it may be 
attributed to the forcible and prompt means used by this phy- 
sician in arresting the progress of his disease. So much indeed 
was he disposed to rely upon his advice that he found a difficulty 
in relying upon any other. 


so little was heard at the time from himself, so little 
did his state of health and constitution, if not the 
tone of his natural character, lead him to feel any 
thing like disappointment, and so much have the 
public, who in this case certainly were more sanguine 
in the anticipation than he was, been called upon for 
their attention by stories and anecdotes that seem in 
part certainly, and perhaps altogether, groundless, 
that it may be mentioned rather as a mark of his 
usual abhorrence of any self-consideration, than as 
a prominent part of his life. In this view what is 
known may be related, because what is related may 
be substantiated, and may be sufficient to correct 
much misunderstanding, as well as set his name free 
from that unseasonable attention which is even at this 
day drawn to it in very different ways. Indeed, as a 
matter of political question on which to catch at any 
praise for his independence, or charge against his 
superiors for any fancied neglect, none can feel less 
disposed to notice this point of his life than his own 
immediate friends, because none had a fairer oppor- 
tunity of estimating his perfect indifference on the 
subject, either when it was casually mentioned to 
him as an elevation not unlikely to take place at 
some time, or when it was hinted that it had been 
expected to take place before. Yet as a matter 
necessarily connected with the politics of his day, it 
was curious to observe the mixture of truth and ex- 
aggeration in the publication of the fact itself, and 
his own entire unconsciousness of having given any 

z 2 


cause for public notoriety in any way attributed to 

What may be collected as the substance of such 
reports (for it is most to the present purpose so to 
describe them), is, in plain language, that Mr. Pitt 
was long led to overlook his services, and to be 
backward in recommending him to the notice of the 
court ; that when so recommended, objections were 
made in a quarter no less powerful from a fancied 
suspicion of political or religious bias ; and lastly, that 
the late king was supposed to dislike his principles, 
as well as his language in the passage concerning 
pigeons. The very reply of his late majesty to the 
minister's recommendation is brought forward ; on 
being told that Dr. Paley had explained or altered 
many of his opinions, " I had rather have a man who 
never had occasion to change them ;" and on another 
occasion, " I can have no notion of the man who, in 
the direction of his conduct, would look for what is 
expedient, if he knows what is right." It is not 
altogether unlikely, that what has been, and is even 
now, advanced with the most apparent authority, 
may have taken its rise from facts unimportant in 
themselves ; but whether such inferences were ever 
drawn, or have been merely intended to serve the 
purpose of those who first related them, is of as little 
consequence to the memory of Dr. Paley, as it was 
to himself, when these little incidents took place. 

So early then as 1785, when the Bishop of Elphin 
and he were discussing the publication of his first 

LIFE OF Bit. PALEY. :)il 

work at the house of a friend, " Paley," said the 
former, " that passage about the pigeons will not go 
down ; it may prevent your being a bishop." " Well," 
said Paley, in his usual characteristic manner, " bishop 
or no bishop, it shall stand." It is probable that this 
was said without much attention in either of the 
parties to the consequences, even if that consequence 
be confined only to the raising a report that this did 
in any way impede his promotion ; but he who will 
venture to conjecture that such a random sentiment 
would not have been uttered, had he even been able 
to foresee such consequences as are attributed to it, 
knows little of the character here spoken of. On his 
removal, indeed, from Carlisle to Bishop Wearmouth, 
the same kind and anxious friend, the Bishop of 
Elphin, had expressed, with great appearance of 
having reasonable ground for the expression, that he 
was glad his preferment was good at last, for he might 
depend upon its being his last, and had even per- 
suaded Dr. Paley to think so, without at all seeking 
the grounds of that opinion. In the latter part of 
his life, however, there was an understanding in his 
own family, though almost too indistinct to be now 
traced to any authority, that some overtures were 
made to him by a friend (whether with or without 
any grounds to support them may be a matter of 
question), tending to persuade him to an explanation, 
or softening, or perhaps recantation of some expres- 
sion which might make against him in a higher quar- 
ter, and recommending another edition, or a note 


explanatory of the true extent of such expressions. 
He declared himself perfectly ready to give any ex- 
planation of the views with which either particular 
expressions or general sentiments were advanced, but 
felt no disposition to recant or explain away any thing 
that had been misconstrued, as this was obviously to 
subject an author to his reader's views. If he was 
misunderstood, he could not help that. But that 
this went no farther, or at least was not at all con- 
nected with Mr. Pitt, may nearly be taken for granted, 
for there is now good ground for supposing that Mr. 
Pitt never did mention his name at all to the king 
for a bishopric. So far, indeed, was Dr. Paley from 
considering himself the object of any jealousy or sus- 
picion by persons in authority, that he always con- 
sidered his preferment at Lincoln chiefly owing to 
Mr. Pitt's interference ; and though this is more 
than the truth, as now appears from the first au- 
thority, it is true that Mr. Pitt was made acquainted 
with the views of his patron on that occasion, and 
readily expressed his concurrence. Neither had he 
any reason to think that he was peculiarly the object 
of any dislike either to the king or any of his sub- 
jects. On the contrary, from the report of the 
Bishop of Elphin of some conversation addressed to 
that prelate when at court, and from the wish ex- 
pressed in consequence that he would allow himself 
to be introduced there, with which he could never 
be Jbrought to comply, it was pretty clear that he was 
regarded rather favourably. The following letter too, 



from a friend of his constantly about the court at 
Windsor, shows that his works at least were much in 
request with his majesty. The familiar chit-chat style 
of the letter seems a voucher for the authority of 
what is related. 

" Windsor Castle, Jan. 11, 1797. 

" It is a proof of great friendship, my dear sir, that 
you call my last letter an interesting one, as it was 
filled wholly with the concerns of me and mine. I 
have now somewhat to say that respects you, and I 
will begin that first. On the very Sunday on which 
I received your letter, this little dialogue took place 
in the Chapter-room of St. George's. 

" ' K. Majendie, do you know who has taken my 
Paley out of my library ?' 

" < M. No, sir ; — I have not. 5 

" * K. Do you think Fisher has? Cannot you in 
his absence see that ? It is bound in dark calf, and 
has blue letters on the back. I value the book highly, 
and would not be without it on any account. Pray, 
where does Dr. Paley reside now ?' 

" ' M. At Wearmouth, sir, I believe principally ; 
but Mr. Wilson knows best.' 

" * K. Does he never come into this part of the 
world, Mr. Wilson?' 

" * W. I hope, sir, to have the satisfaction of seeing 
him with me next summer.' 

" And there for the present ended the conver- 
sazione. The Sunday fortnight after, Mr. Wilson 
told me, the king had not yet found his Paley. * Nei- 


ther Majendie nor Fisher have it. He has now but 
one chance of finding it again. He thinks he must 
have left it at Weymouth. He knows he took it 
with him in his pocket, and it is probable that he has 
left it behind him. On this supposition, he will send 
for another set immediately, and he is rather pleased 
with the circumstance, as he shall have one there to 
recur to as well as here, for he thinks it a very use- 
ful, valuable publication.' Now, my dear sir, if you 
are above royal praise, I have done wrong in taking 
up your time and mine ; but I confess I felt so proud 
of it, I could not resist the impulse of telling it you." 

The truth then may perhaps be, if any objections 
were really made to the language or tone in which 
many of his sentiments are conveyed, that he did not 
listen to the advice of his cautious friends, from a 
conviction that such considerations ought not to in- 
fluence, and would not influence, any of those who 
undertook a charge of such grave importance as the 
concerns of a national religion ; and who might be 
supposed anxious, if from no better principle, at least 
from respect to their taste, to avoid the display of 
such ultraism, as could take hold of mere "uncourtly 
language # ." It is true that, in publishing his Moral 
Philosophy in 1785, he fell in with times when un- 
courtly language became the fashion in politics ; and 
when it was almost the only property of a great po- 

* Chalmers, from Quarterly Review, 


litical leader that was imitated by bold and designing 
men, who, under the guise of wholesome truths, laid 
bare the very scaffolding of all established authorities. 
It might be, that the anger of the court was roused 
soon after by the inveterate and persevering spirit 
with which almost a too curious insight was gained 
into the real strength of royalty and prerogative ; 
but this, he might take liberty to conclude, had time 
to pass off, with the usual changes of political and 
moral feeling, long before it came to his turn to be 
thought of for any such advancement. At any rate 
it was very improbable, that he whose characteristic 
was such a freedom of thinking and speaking, as 
might at once show that he preferred integrity to 
courtesy, and the free use of his reason and common 
sense — nay the almost too unlimited indulgence of 
wit and drollery, to the cautious and trim propriety 
of studied phrase, would either have exchanged these 
habits, or thought it worth while to exchange them, 
in hopes of meeting the wishes of any court in Chris- 
tendom. He was by no means deficient in proper 
courtesy, nor unwilling to pay all outward and hearty 
deference to his superiors, nor was even conscious, 
much less proud, of the feeling of independence. His 
blunt manner of expressing himself seemed to be no 
affectation, but an off-set of his character; as may 
be readily perceived by comparing his whimsical and 
laconic habit of letter-writing on matters quite un- 
connected with politics, his mode of striking out 
illustrations in his works, and the style of his com- 

346 LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 

mon conversation. It certainly is amusing enough 
to find it remarked or insinuated that, "neither as to 
the principles of his faith nor the tenor of his politics 
was Dr. Paley's creed avowed ;"*and the opinions of 
those who have been usually called Socinians have 
been suspected in the protege" of Bishop Law, and 
the friend of Dr. Jebb, though it is well observed by 
the same author *, that the charge of heterodoxy is 
supported rather by omission than any assertion to 
be found in his works. It might indeed seem strange, 
that any express avowal of religious or political sen- 
timents should be required from a writer who was 
called upon by his subject to study the general theory 
of politics, and one who is so eminently serviceable 
in the cause of his religion, as well as so singularly 
devoted to his professional studies ; and much more 
may it be a matter of wonder, that it should be 
necessary to require such avowal ; but this wonder 
ceases, when it is recollected how great is the pro- 
pensity in the public to class every man of any re- 
putation under some party. In Dr. Paley, there was 
that peculiar candour and openness which refused to 
be nailed to party, and which, therefore, might ap- 
pear to lean to any way of thinking. That an avowal 
of his opinions should be unnecessary, or that he was 
not obliged to think himself of any party, seems to 
have been the very estimation he most coveted ; since 
even the charges of vacillation or inconsistency to 

* Meadley. 


which he must have subjected himself, because he 
must have known others of the same spirit of inde- 
pendence liable to such charge, seem to have had no 
weight with him in comparison with his own satisfac- 
tion in admiring what was right, and allowing for 
what was wrong, on all sides. It is no mean test of 
a man's principles, that, with a spirit naturally active 
and bustling, with enlightened powers of mind, and 
with a strong pervading principle of honesty and in- 
tegrity, he should fill an important place in society, 
quietly and conscientiously discharging its duties, and 
employing his abilities and writings chiefly in ad- 
vancing the spiritual interest of his fellow-creatures, 
and that in a way much more important and enlarged 
than was likely to be diverted by any party preju- 

After this time he seems to have employed his in- 
tervals of Study, which were now necessarily shorter 
from his having more occasion to attend to his health, 
in a question much connected with the church, and 
at that time a good deal brought forward, viz. the 
residence of the clergy. He has left drawn up into 
a regular form, in his own hand-writing, probably not 
without the suggestions of some one more nearly con- 
cerned than he was with the ecclesiastical arrange- 
ments, the plan of a bill for imposing a tax upon non- 
residence, to be applied to the augmentation of small 
livings, under the form and title of " An Act for the 
better promoting the Residence of the Parochial 
Clergy." Whether any or what use was made of 

348 LIFE OF Dlt. PALEY. 

this, or why it was drawn up, it is not an object worth 
inquiry at present ; neither can the plan itself be any 
fair object of criticism, and therefore there seems less 
objection to presenting at least the outlines of it. The 
part of the proposed plan which seems to be most in 
the usual manner of the framer, and is therefore the 
most worthy of notice to any one interested in taking 
hold of the sentiments of the writer, and the cha- 
racter of his writings, is to be found in the mixing 
up of reasons and motives for the several enactments 
with the clauses themselves. Whether this be the 
usual way of drawing up bills, or only a curious mode 
of drawing his mind on paper for the use of those to 
whom it is addressed, it is obviously the best and 
readiest way of coming at the spirit of an act of 
parliament, and may offer no bad pattern for enact- 

" I propose to put the tax, or as I would rather 
call it the contribution, into the receipt and manage- 
ment of the governors of queen Anne's bounty, to be 
paid nearly at the same time, and at the same place 
as the tenths, and payment, if neglected, to be en- 
forced by the same process and under the same penal- 
ties ; and I am persuaded that, with the addition of 
two clerks, or of a comptroller, or accountant, or 
treasurer, to the present establishment of that office, 
the business might be transacted at a moderate ex- 
pense ; certainly not exceeding one shilling in the 

" I begin therefore my bill thus : 


" ' Whereas it is expedient to promote the residence 
of the parochial clergy, and to provide for the better 
maintenance of the resident incumbents of such 
livings, by raising a fund out of benefices having 
cure of souls, holden by clergymen who do not reside 
upon the same, to be applied and disposed of towards 
increasing the incomes of such of the poorer clergy as 
reside upon small benefices. Be it enacted, that from 

there be annually paid by any incumbents 

of a benefice with cure of souls, into the receipt of 
the office of tenths, the sum of five shillings in the 
pound of the value of their respective benefices, &e/ 

" After this paragraph the first thing to be done is 
to ascertain the value of each benefice. This I pro- 
pose to do by the oath of the incumbent, guarded, 
however, by a check, which I think will prevent any 
violent mistatement, viz. that of the affidavit being 
read during morning service, and afterwards signed 
by one of the churchwardens, and affixed for the in- 
spection of the parishioners upon the church door. 
But in order to force from the incumbent a declara- 
tion of the value upon oath, it is necessary to cast about 
for some measure of the value which may be proceeded 
upon in case no such declaration be delivered ; and in 
this measure all that is necessary is, that whilst it 
bear some proportion to the real value of the living, 
it always exceed it; so that the incumbent may never 
be a gainer by suppressing or withholding such de- 
claration. In most livings there are terriers, in which 
is usually expressed the value of the living, and this 


value, though seldom, I believe, equal to the actual 
present value, is always more than half of it. I would 
fix, therefore, upon double the value, or, where such 
terriers are not to be found, the king's books may be 
had recourse to. The sum at which livings are esti- 
mated in the king's books I have heard computed, 
upon a rude average, to be about a thirteenth part of 
the modern extended value ; but, to make sure of our 
purpose, which, it must be remembered, is nothing 
more than to procure a discovery from the incum- 
bent, I would take twenty times that sum as the 
second measure. I proceed, therefore, with a second 
and third paragraph of the bills, &c. 

" I think it reasonable that the curate's salary 
should be deducted from the value for which the in- 
cumbent pays, provided the curate resides. And 
this, though a subordinate, may be another good 
effect of this act, to increase the number of resident 
curates, whose residence is the next good thing to the 
residence of their principals. But it is in this part, 
of all others, that I am the most afraid of collusion 
and fraud. It has been my lot to see so much of it 
in the giving of titles, producing receipts for the 
salary assigned by the bishop, where not a shilling 
had been paid, or where half of it had been returned 
to the incumbent,- ■ or perhaps to his wife, and other 
contrivances of that kind, that it is necessary to guard 
studiously against similar attempts in the present 

" I therefore proceed, &c. 


" The residence I would require, for the purpose of 
protecting an incumbent from the operation of this 
act, should be such a residence as would make his 
living his home. This point being secured, I would 
not wish to tie him up too tightly, or to refuse him 
liberty sufficient for the avocations which are inci- 
dental to the life of a regular man. I would fix 
upon eight months, or, because months are ambiguous, 
thirty-two weeks, in the year. No man can reside 
conveniently eight months in the year in any place 
without making that place his home, and four, or 
near five, months in the year will allow space enough 
for any engagements that can ordinarily take a clergy- 
man from home. The residence must be ascertained 
by the oath of the incumbent, guarded as before by 
publicity. I proceed, therefore, &c. 

" Pluralities I leave to the general operation of the 
act ; that is, if a man have two livings and reside upon 
neither, he shall pay for both ; if he reside upon one, 
he shall pay for the other. (Here some cases are 
considered of partial residence, after which is added:) 
— Thus is given so much of the plan as relates to the 
imposing of the tax on penalties or contributions. 

" I should wish to be as sparing as possible of ex- 
ceptions. Like drawbacks in a duty, they always 
open a door to evasion. In the case of dispensations 
we see how entirely the privileges granted to chap- 
lains and degrees have departed from their principle, 
if in truth they were ever founded on any. The 
cases, however, which seem to me to require or to be 


best entitled to indulgence, I will now proceed to 

" First, whenever a living is by law annexed to 
another preferment, which preferment has a local 
duty, and residence required from or belonging to it 
elsewhere, I think an exception ought to be allowed. 
There are other cases of annexation, but which have 
no local duty elsewhere. This, among many other 
instances, is my own case. I hold a living as the 
corps of my archdeaconry, and have the cure of souls 
therein ; but as the living is situated within the arch- 
deaconry, the archdeacon may exercise his functions 
whilst resident there, as well as in any other place. 
The excuse, therefore, does not hold in this case. 

" The class which may next in order plead for ex- 
ceptions is that of the clergy w T ho occupy stations of 
expense and of public importance, and whose main- 
tenance in part is derived from livings which they 
hold along with those stations. In favour of cathe- 
dral livings, I would rather not legislate, because I 
am rather against the principle of favouring them." 
Here he gives some reasons for that exception which 
he allows may be deemed valid enough ; only should 
this plan of exception be adopted, care should be 
taken, he observes, to enumerate the several cases 
almost as it were " nominatim ;" and not to state 
them by any general description, which might be 
employed to cover other cases that would endeavour 
to creep under its shelter. 

" I think it probable, also, that the king's chap- 


lains may put in their claim for privilege and exemp- 
tion. If I conceded any thing to this claim, it would 
be rather to preserve the respect and distinction which 
ought, upon all occasions, to be paid to the regal cha- 
racter, than from any opinion of the merit or justice 
of the claim. At any rate I would go no further 
than to allow the time of their actual attendance upon 
the king's service to be deducted from the required 
residence. Chaplains of all other descriptions I 
should be against, because to allow an exemption to 
them would be to exonerate the prosperous part of 
the clergy, and leave the burthen upon the neck of 
the friendless and neglected. 

" Commendams perhaps ought to be exempted, 
for the same reason that they are allowed. But as 
the distinction would be very invidious, I should be 
willing to hope it might for that reason be waved." 

Here he considers whether the act should attach to 
the present race of incumbents, or only to livings 
acquired after the time of its passing into a law ; with 
the observation — " I revere highly that tenderness 
of the legislature, which, in most cases, refrains as 
much as possible from breaking in upon men's actual 
incomes, to which it may be presumed they have 
adapted their habits and expenses ; but the principal 
consideration which distinguishes them from other 
imposts is, that the payment in most cases is optional 
to the incumbent, and may be avoided by so easy an 
expedient as that of doing his duty. Where this 
option, therefore, remains, I do not see but the pre- 

VOL. I. A A 


sent incumbent may fairly be subject. Where it 
does not, as in masters of colleges, &c. an exemption 
might be made. 

" The only other exception which I should be will- 
ing to admit is in favour of old age. Old men cannot 
easily change their habitations ; and as such lives 
would drop fast, the produce of the tax would be 
little diminished by this relaxation. 
" ■ Be it therefore provided/ &c. &c. 
"I had forgot to provide for the year on which 
a change of incumbency takes place. If caused by 
death, I would allow for that year entirely. I would 
give up one portion to the family of the last incum- 
bent, as a bonus often much wanted ; and by reason of 
the expenses of induction, &c. the new incumbent 
will want the rest. 

" Having now raised the fund, we proceed to its 
distribution. And what I should now wish is, that 
the distribution should be left to the discretion of the 
bishops in their respective dioceses — subject, however, 
to some regulations. I can, however, very well ima- 
gine, that a plan which proposed to add power to the 
governors of the church may be received with great 
jealousy. If for that reason, or because the bishops 
themselves should think the office too troublesome 
and invidious (for both it would no doubt be), a fixed 
rule of distribution should be preferred, I would offer 
the following — shares," &c. &c. And after much more 
than is necessary to produce, he fixes the penalty for 
" any person knowingly and wilfully swearing falsely 


in taking any oath appointed by this act to be taken, 
shall and may be prosecuted for the same, and upon 
conviction thereof, shall be subject to such punish- 
ments and disqualifications as any person or per- 
sons would be subject to for wilful and corrupt per- 
jury by any of the laws or statutes of this realm ; and 
shall also be for ever incapable of holding or receiving 
any ecclesiastical preferment whatever. 

" Having thus brought my paragraphs to a con- 
clusion, what is necessary to be added by way of 
argument will lie in a small compass. 

" The recommendations of the plan are, first, that 
whichever way it operates, it will do good. If it 
produce a more general residence of the parochial 
clergy, it cannot be doubted but that it will produce 
a beneficial effect : if it leave the state of non-re- 
sidence as it is, it will alleviate the evil by providing 
a more decent maintenance for the clergy who do 
reside, and whose circumstances require assistance. 

" Secondly, that it will execute itself. Penal laws 
fall to the ground for want of prosecutors ; and 
when prosecutions are instituted, they generally pro- 
ceed from motives of so much private enmity, that 
the public, and courts of justice themselves, are re- 
joiced at their disappointment. Hence the statute 
of Henry the Eighth, commonly called the Statute 
of Non-residence, has very little other effect, as far 
as I have observed, than to enable parishes to extort 
from the absentee somewhat easier terms for their 
tithes than they would otherwise obtain. Whereas 

a a 2 


a tax, it is very well known, never sleeps. In the 
present instance it would be collected without public 
odium, and for any thing that I can see, with as much 
ease and regularity as the tenths or first-fruits. 

" The objections which I have been able to form 
to myself are such as these : 

"1. Private patrons, who are apt to consider them- 
selves as having a property not only in the advowson 
but in the living, may call this alienation of a portion 
of the profits of the benefice, an invasion of their 
right. I apprehend the same objection applies to the 
statute of Henry the Eighth, which subjects the non- 
resident to a penalty of c£lO a month, or to the law 
which compels the payment of a salary to the curate, 
and authorises the bishop to assign the quantum of 
that salary, or to any regulation which enforced upon 
the incumbent the performance of his duty by pecu- 
niary sanctions. 

" 2. It may be regarded by incumbents themselves 
as a legislative dispensation from the duty of re- 
sidence, considered as a moral tie upon the conscience. 
I think there is something in this objection : I mean 
that it may possibly be so regarded, though without 
any just reason. But upon whom can this considera- 
tion operate so as to do any harm ? Only upon those 
who at present reside upon their livings from a sense 
of duty, in opposition to their own conveniency and 
inclination. I apprehend the number of these at 
present is not great, and after the passing of this act 
would be smaller. The opinion itself is founded in 


no good reason ; for the moral obligation, whatever it 
be, remains as it was. Add to this, that all other 
legal ways of enjoining or enforcing residence, as the 
power of the ordinary, the vicar's oath, the statute of 
Henry the Eighth, the power of granting licences, 
continue unaltered by this act. 

" 3. Some may think that the tax, like the window- 
tax, the house-tax, the servants' tax, and some others, 
ought to ascend in a higher proportion than the 
simple ratio of the value. I do not think that this 
would be any improvement of the plan. Non-re- 
sidence, which this plan is intended to remedy, is as 
great an evil in a moderate living as in a large one. 
Beside that, advancing the proportion tends too much 
to equality, which is a bad constitution. 

"4. Some allowance, it maybe thought, should 
have been made for absence occasioned by sickness 
or urgent business. Hard cases I do allow may pos- 
sibly arise under both these heads ; but I am afraid 
it will be difficult to provide for their relief without 
giving up the efficiency of the plan in a great mea- 
sure. Physicians' certificates could always be ob- 
tained. Men would find out that they or their fami- 
lies could not have their health at their livings, or any 
where but in the town or neighbourhood in which 
they wished to live ; and as to business, the urgency 
of it can only be known to a man's self. I can only 
say, that, as the bill allows every incumbent twenty 
weeks to stir in, very hard cases would not, I hope, 
be frequent. 


"4. Upon reading the act there may appear to be 
confusion in the plan. Now I apprehend that the 
plan possesses all the simplicity which is attainable in 
measures of extensive operation, viz. that every person 
concerned will easily understand and execute his own 
particular part in it. The absent incumbent has only 
to fill up the certificate (printed forms of which I 
take for granted will soon be to be had in every mar- 
ket town), swear to it before the next justice, send it 
down to his curate to be read, affixed and delivered 
to the receiver, and to pay into the office in London 
his quota of the value to which he has sworn. I once 
thought of making the money payable in the country, 
but money, I believe, is more easily paid in London 
than any where else ; and as those who are to pay are 
absent from their livings, it would be no relief to 
them to allow payment to be made in the district in 
which the living is situated. To the resident incum- 
bent, the business would, as it ought to be, be very 
easy. He transacts it all at home. He has only to 
fill up his certificate, swear to it, read and affix it, and 
then carry or send it to the receiver of his deanery. 
The audit of the account in the office will be extremely 
simple. After the 25th of March there will be in 
the office for every living either the money, or the 
certificate, or a process to issue. The division of the 
fund into shares, after the petitions are allowed, is a 
mere arithmetical operation, which any careful clerk 
would go through in a day. 

" 5. To that indefinite dread of change with which 


the minds of many, and those very good men, are 
strongly impressed, especially in church affairs, I can 
only reply, that the true way, perhaps, after all, of 
securing the perpetuity of any establishment is to 
make it answer its purpose. In the present instance 
I can very well conceive that the alteration may 
eventually protect the revenues of the church. I have 
often thought that non-residence was not the unlike- 
liest object of taxation to the state, that in times of 
public difficulty might happen to be fallen upon. 
Now the finding it to be already taxed, and that 
pretty amply, would hinder a second application of 
the paring tool ; and I am persuaded that no minister 
would divert the fund raised by this plan from the 
purpose to which it is applied by the plan itself. 

" 6. A question, though not strictly in the nature 
of an objection, may be suggested, why is not the tax 
extended to sinecure preferments ? I do not mean, 
in answer to this question, to state such preferments 
as objects of indulgence or exemption ; I only con- 
tend that the principle of the present bill does not 
apply to them. The principle of the bill, as a bill of 
regulation, is to enforce a local duty; now the duty 
of members of cathedral and collegiate churches, as 
far as it is local, may be left to their local statutes. 
It is conceived that much good would be done by 
inducing the parochial clergy to reside eight months 
in the year upon their livings. No good whatever 
would be done by procuring an eight months' re- 
sidence upon deaneries and prebends. If, therefore, it 
should be thought proper to make these contribute to 


the relief of their indigent brethren, it should be the 
subject of a separate bill, as it is in truth a separate 
measure > so far, however, capable of being joined to 
the present plan as that the produce of the contribu- 
tion might be made payable into the same receipt, 
distributable in the same proportions, and by the same 
hands : in other words, might be added to the same 

He appears to have been still fond of study as an 
object, and latterly to have given much attention to 
scripture and scripture language, as there was found 
upon his table a new book bearing that title, and 
containing, among other miscellaneous observations, 
" Some original Remarks on incidental and appa- 
rently inconsiderable Passages." It seems to have 
been his custom also to put down, under the head of 
Hints, any sentiment which struck him during his 
employment or leisure, and which might be of ser- 
vice to him in the composition of his sermons. The 
writing of Sermons seems indeed to have been his 
favourite employment, if any judgment can be formed 
from its being continued to the last ; and as towards 
the end of his life he had little hopes of being again 
able to use them in his church, it seems to have 
been pursued, if not as an amusement, with an in- 
tention of making them profitable in some other 

* This abstract (if it may be so called) is given interruptedly, 
in order that it may not appear to solicit attention to what had 
missed publicity, but as sufficient to show the tone of the writer's 
sentiments on a subject which both before and since has often 
engaged public attention. 


way. On the publication of his Evidences, his 
booksellers had applied to him to know whether it 
would be agreeable to him to publish any sermons ; 
and he writes, " I have no sermons ready for the 
press at present, and can give no answer to that part 
of your proposal." It is, therefore, not improbable, 
that this would have been the next work he would 
have undertaken. Had he lived, there is room for 
supposing that it would have been more accurately 
performed, from much of his time being employed in 
revising his Sermons, or re-modelling them, or com- 
posing new ones*. As to the volume left for pub- 
lication, he had drawn together a bundle of sermons, 
out of which he was to have made a selection ; and in 
transcribing some that were almost obliterated, and 
adapting others to his purpose and his wishes, he 
found employment sufficient for his weak and painful 
state of health. He seems not to have considered 
himself as writing against or in favour of any parti- 
cular views. It is observed by his biographer, who 
was one of his parishioners and admirers, and who 
was himself a dissenter, that "the posthumous volume 
might have been more free from objection had he 

* Amongst those so prepared, there were a few evidently 
written and composed for a set, never having been preached at 
all. Of these, two sermons on Faith and Works, which appear 
to have been intended as the 2d and 3d parts of some that appeared 
in the posthumous volume, but which were unaccountably omitted, 
are now restored. If this conjecture be right, the reader may also 
judge how far the author appears to have changed his sentiments, 
by comparing some expressions in these with his Charges on the 
Use of Scripture Language. En. 


abstained from some questions of a controversial cast, 
on which his opinion would, no doubt, recommend 
him to the adherents of the established church." On 
the other hand it has been represented by some of the 
most orthodox of our church, that in particular ser- 
mons he seems to have been inattentive to some of 
the peculiar tenets of our established faith. These 
contrary, if they be not contradictory observations, 
together with the singular want of agreement amongst 
different individuals of his friends, some understand- 
ing one objection to be generally made, and some 
another, show at least that there is no prevailing bias 
towards any particular views, nor that he was limited 
in his views by any prevailing bent of mind. His 
skill as a theologian did not perhaps extend beyond 
the plain common sense reception of the Christian 
faith. He was naturally disposed towards contro- 
versy by the shrewdness and research, and many 
other peculiar qualities, of his mind ; but he was so 
little inclined to indulge it, from the candor and be- 
nevolence of his feelings, and had acquired, per- 
haps, so much insight into the power of temper over 
reason, that on this very account he never applied 
much to the peculiar doctrines either of his own or 
any other church. By many of his natural qualities 
indeed he may be thought to have been more dis- 
posed to a liberal construction of Scripture on all 
points where different views seem to arise from dif- 
ferent propensities of mind ; and his theological know- 
ledge, as far as it went, seems to have been drawn 

IlfS OF DR. PALEY. 363 

chiefly from those authors who are generally ranged 
on the liberal side ; but it was quite consistent with 
his usual candor to correct any liberality that might, 
without this check, have amounted to latitude, by 
such general inquiries into the opposite ways of think- 
ing, as might tend to satisfy him where truth was to 
be found. This seems to have been the very point 
at which he aimed with all his mind, and this was 
not enough to give him any merit as a skilful theo- 
logian ; as, though it might interest himself, it could 
only entitle him to rank his power amongst those of 
a great many writers, and not at all give him a right 
to affect any pre-eminence. This may account for 
what is striking enough to those who knew his 
powers of mind, that a man of his celebrity should 
have thought himself so little eminent as a divine 
of the church of England, as to have applied himself 
so little to the peculiars of his profession. What 
he might have done, had his life been longer, it is 
impossible to say; but from his employment almost 
up to the very time of his death, as well as from the 
preparation of his papers and letters which he had 
made for an event, in his own opinion perhaps at 
no great distance, it is reasonable to conclude that 
he would have adhered to the same general plan 
of contributing rather to the common stock of doc- 
trinal and practical divinity, by the powers of strong 
sense and discerning judgment, than of considering 
himself called upon to stand forth as signally or emi- 
nently a member of the church of England. 


By the papers found on his study table at the time 
of his death, it may be seen how far his mind was at 
the same work. There are two or three unfinished 
sermons, which seem to have been left in that state 
chiefly because the current of his thoughts had been 
interrupted by his last illness. One is a kind of 
essay, headed — " The virtues of the poor." 

" The virtuous poor." 
But whether for any other purpose, or for a sermon 
according to his usual manner of choosing his text 
when his sermon was finished, may be left for con- 

It may be worth while to give it (as it is un- 
likely to have appeared before), both as one among 
many specimens of the writer's way of methodizing 
his subject, from first entertaining it in his mind ; and 
also to show that his mode of reasoning continued 
unimpaired and unaltered to the very last. 

" It may be true that doing good is the business of 
virtue, and yet it may not be true that men's virtue 
is in proportion to the good which they do ; because 
the quantity and amount and degree of the good that 
is done must depend upon means, upon abilities and 
opportunities, upon power and fortune and station ; 
none of which men command or choose for them- 
selves. Hence it comes to pass, that two persons 
may be of equal virtue, and yet be so differently 
situated in the world, that the virtues of the one 
shall produce a thousand times more or less benefit 
to mankind than the virtue of the other. So that if 


the question be in what degree any one is to be ac- 
counted a good man, it cannot be judged of merely 
by the good he does -, for this, both in those who do 
little, and in those who do much, must be estimated 
not absolutely in itself, but with a reference to what 
the person in question was capable of doing. It 
follows from this observation, that a poor man, not- 
withstanding he have little good in his power, esti- 
mated absolutely, little that he can do even with his 
best endeavours, may nevertheless be as good a man, 
as virtuous, as religious, as acceptable, as well pleasing 
to his Maker, as he who having a great deal more 
in his power, does a great deal more. It cannot be 
helped that in the sight of the world there will be a 
wide difference in the two cases. The one will be 
praised and thanked and applauded by a whole coun- 
try (and it is fit he should be so), the other will be 
quite unnoticed and unobserved, except by a very 
few ; but to the eye of an all-seeing and all-judging 
God, both appear, as what they are, upon a level in 
true virtue and goodness, though separated by a great 
distance in the effects of their virtue, and as to the 
good which is actually done. 

" If, then, we are not to judge of men's goodness 
by the degree of good they actually do, because this 
must always depend upon means and circumstances, 
which men cannot make for themselves, by what rule 
or rules are we to judge of it ? I shall now mention 
these rules : and I think the mention of them will 
show that a poor man is as capable of being a good 


man as a person in any station whatever ; that there 
are virtues and proofs of virtue within his power, as 
real, as substantial, and, he may hope, as well pleasing 
to his Creator, as those are which lie only within the 
reach of the highest and the richest, and even of 
those amongst them who use wealth and power as 
they ought to do. 

" 1. Now one fair rule for judging of men's cha- 
racters is, to see whether they knowingly do harm. It 
is not in every man's power to do much good, but it 
is in every man's power to do ill. And this is the 
first point to be taken care of. The fear of God is 
the beginning of religion ; and that fear will indicate 
itself by keeping us from doing any thing which we 
know to be evil. Now this is in the poor man's 
power quite as much as it is in the rich man's ; 
namely, to be harmless. I own I count but little of 
those, whether rich or poor, who, at times, and by 
fits and starts, do good and generous actions, but at 
other times, and perhaps in the general course of 
their conduct, seem to care very little what mischief 
they do ; who never let the harm they may do stand 
in the way of their inclination, or their gratification, 
or their end, or the compassing of their end ; because 
I do not see in such characters the foundation of 
virtue, the fear of God. Were it within them, the 
contradictory conduct which we describe could not 
exist. The not doing harm or mischief knowingly 
in any shape whatever, or to any person or persons 
whatever, whether they be many, or few, or onej 


whether they be able to bear the loss or unable to 
bear it ; whether they be our acquaintance or strangers 
to us, and persons whom we have no cause to have 
any particular regard for — the abstaining, I say, from 
doing harm of any kind is a proof of goodness which 
every man must give, before he can be accounted 
sincere in his moral and religious principles ; and it 
is a proof which the poor of all others are the most 
bound to give, because it is often in point of conduct 
towards their neighbours, the chief proof which falls 
within their power." * * * 

The last, and probably the very last piece of writing 
with which he was concerned, as it seemed to have 
been before him at his last sitting, is the following 
piece of a sermon. 

" Lead us not into temptation" 
" I interpret this petition to be as though we 
should say, so dispose by thy providence and order 
the things of life towards us as to be favourable to 
our virtues. 

" The final view of the petition relates to another 
life, because it relates to our salvation ; but the sub- 
ject and matter of the petition lies on this side the 
grave, because it respects that conduct upon which 
our future happiness or mi&ery depends. The pre- 
sent life is the scene of our temptations ; the stage 
and state of our trials. When we pray, therefore, 
not to be led into temptation, our prayer regards the 
present disposition of things ; the order and dispensa- 


tion of Providence towards us as it takes place in the 
world in which we now live. 

" Now all prayer which respects what passes in 
this life supposes two things : first, that the affairs of 
life are within the ordination of God's providence, 
either ordinary or extraordinary. Secondly, prayer 
likewise supposes us to have some object at heart, to 
the attainment of which we request that the dispensa- 
tions and ordering of events may bring us. These 
two things are implied in every prayer which we 

" When we say that the things of this life are 
within the ordination of God's providence, we do 
not presume to say or to hope that the affairs of the 
world are to be conducted and directed exclusively 
to our advantage and benefit. God is the parent 
of the universe. His wisdom, his benevolence, his 
counsels, his providence points to the good of the 
whole. Every thing, therefore, which relates to us 
as individuals must be in submission to that large 
and comprehensive view upon which the divine mind 
rests. There may be a thousand cases which we can 
imagine, wherein our particular good, or at least what 
we should account and reckon our particular good, 
would obstruct the good of the whole ; and there may 
be ten thousand and ten thousand times ten thousand 
cases of the same kind which we cannot imagine. 
Indeed, it must be so, if we consider the immensity 
and variety of interests which worlds of sentient and 
rational beings may or rather must comprehend, and 


how small a portion of these we ever have any know- 
ledge of, or can form any judgment about. Still 
there is room and range for Providence to act. This 
consideration does not prove that Providence is con- 
fined in its operations, for Providence may act and 
order things very variously. Still having the same 
great and ultimate end in its view, the consideration 
only proves that by reason of the influence, if we 
may so speak, which this end must have upon the 
measures and councils of a good and gracious God, 
it becomes impossible in most cases for us to judge of 
the propriety of particular events or situations which 
are permitted to take place. 

" We have spoken of providence being ordinary 
and extraordinary. This may require some explana- 
tion. The first idea of extraordinary providence is 
that of a sensible providence, that is to say, when 
its interposition is distinguishable. This is the case 
with miracles undoubtedly. It may also be the case, 
though not directly and properly miraculous. There 
may be deliverances so critical, mercies so timed and 
circumstanced, warnings so seasonable, nay judgments 
may so overtake an offender and his offence, as to in- 
duce the most reasonable judgment to think of them 
as extraordinary providences. But there is also an- 
other signification under which providence, though 
not sensible by any certain marks distinguishable, 
may be deemed extraordinary. The general course 
of God Almighty's providence is towards the general 
good ; and that may be called his general providence. 

VOL. I. B B 


Whenever out of the various, perhaps infinitely va- 
rious ways by which the general good may be pur- 
sued, he is induced by prayer or otherwise to adopt 
that which brings a particular good to one or to cer- 
tain individuals, then his providence with respect to 
them may be said to be extraordinary. It is so in 
fact, and as to all the benefit of it, though neither 
miraculous nor sensible." # # # 

His last illness was occasioned by an attack so little 
different from those to which he had before been 
subject, that it caused no apprehension of immediate 
danger, even in his medical attendant. He had been 
labouring during the last year under the consequences 
of one of his painful attacks, and for some time before 
he had been so much longer in regaining his strength, 
that it became obvious his constitution was impaired ; 
but he had so often escaped the common consequence 
of severe inflammation, that though his bodily suf- 
ferings were most severe, not much was apprehended 
on that ground. He appears to have thought of and 
prepared for this, as being his last, or at least his 
most severe illness, though without any observable 
alteration in his usual style of conversation or mode 
of life, such as might alarm those about him, or in- 
duce them to suspect he was sensible of the approach 
of death. A few days before that event took place, 
he had made an assortment of his letters and papers, 
and ordered some of them to be destroyed. Some 
short time before that, he had been employed in his 
study in tying up two or three bundles of sermons, 


and expressed himself satisfied, " that now he had 

left that ready." These proved to be the sermons 

for publication, the directions for which he left in a 

codicil to his will. He was confined to his bed for 


a very short time. He had written to one of his 
family but a few days before his death, " that he had 
been very ill, but was then better ;" when a fresh 
return of his disorder after much suffering produced 
a rapid and fatal mortification. His bodily powers 
were so little weakened, that a few hours before his 
death he lifted a large pitcher of water to his mouth. 
That his mind was unshaken from its habitual con- 
fidence and self-possession, there is every reason to 
think ; for on his desiring to have his posture changed, 
and being told by his surgeon that he was in danger 
of dying under the attempt, he with great calmness 
and resignation said, " well — try — never mind" — 
and, after some severe convulsions, expired. His 
death-bed cannot be a subject for the public ; nor 
from his almost constitutional habit of thinking and 
feeling in silence, was it likely to afford matter for 
general interest. He died at Bishop Wearmouth in 
May, 1805, and was buried in the north aisle of the 
cathedral at Carlisle. 

be 2 



A facsimile of a passage extracted at random from 
Dr. Faleys manuscript books will present a fair 
view of his pages when he wrote for his own use, 
either in the pulpit or on any other occasion. It 
was but little improved when he wrote for the use 
of others. 





The following pages contain Extracts from 
College Lectures. These Lectures are still extant 
in the Author's Manuscript, but in a confused 
heap of loose papers. Some part of them, to 
which reference has been made in the foregoing 
account, are taken, in a form indeed much en- 
larged, into the Evidences of Christianity. Those 
now offered to the public seem sufficiently new to 
claim attention ; and if any of them may contain 
only a repetition of what has already been made 
public under different forms, they will at least- 
enable the reader to judge how far the plan 
adopted in such Lectures has been changed, be- 
fore it was made serviceable for any published 
work of the Author. 



I. That air of simplicity and undesignedness which runs 
through the Gospels, especially of Matthew and Mark, 
not natural to a fabulist or impostor, nor easily imitated. 
You have in the Gospels a plain story without ornament or 
embellishment; without any observations of their own, either 
on one side or the other ; without a single encomium upon 
Christ or his Apostles, from beginning to end; without any 
direct defence or recommendation, any excuse or apology, 
for him whatever. They relate the fact straight forward, 
without any attempt to procure credit to it, or any concern 
whether it would tell for or against them; that is, they 
write as men convinced themselves, and who suppose no- 
thing more necessary to convince others than the bare 
narration of the fact. 

II. Add to this the extreme naturalness of some of the 
things they mention ; as, for instance, Mark ix. 24. Of 
the same nature is the eagerness of the people to introduce 
Christ into Jerusalem, Matt. xxi. 8, 9 and their rage against 
him when he did not turn out what they expected, Matt, 
xxvii. 17 — 26. The Rulers and Pharisees generally re- 
jecting Christ, whilst many of the common people received 
him, and their reflection upon it, John vii. 48. The women 
in particular following Paul, Acts xvi. 13. xvii. 12. The 
winds and the waves subsiding together, Matt. viii. 26. 
The blind man, upon being restored to sight, seeing men 


as trees walking, Mark viii. 24. The behaviour of the 
blind man, John ix. The conduct of Gallio, Acts xviii. 
12—17. Of Festus, xxv. 18, 19. Paul's violence and 
zeal, first against, then for Christianity. The woman of 
Samaria crying out to her fellow-citizens, a come, see a 
man which told me all things that ever I did," John iv. 
29. The lawyer's quibble, " who is my neighbour ?" Luke 
x. 29. The twelve baskets, i.e. of the twelve Apostles *. 
III. The discourses of Christ alluding always to particular 
incidents, the most unlikely way in the world for a forger 
or fabulist to attempt, and the most difficult to keep up, if 
he had to supply all the materials, both the incidents and 
observations upon them, out of his own head. They would 
have made for him discourses exhorting to virtue and dis- 
suading from vice in general terms : it would never have 
entered their thoughts to have crowded together such a 
number of objections to time, place, and other little cir- 
cumstances as occur, for instance, in the sermon on the 
mount, and which nothing but the actual presence of the 
objects could suggest. 


In the first place, Christ was absolutely innocent : we 
do not find a single vice to which he was addicted, either 
from the accounts of his own followers, or as charged upon 
him by his enemies : we hear nothing like what is told of 
Mahomet, of his wives and concubines ; nothing of his 
falling, like Socrates and Plato, into the fashionable vices 
of his country. In the next place, his whole life, that part 
of it at least which we are acquainted with, was employed 
in doing good, in substantial acts of kindness and com- 
passion to all those who fell in his way, i. e. in solid virtue. 

* Law's Life of Christ. 


In his youth he set an example of subjection and obedience 
to his parents, Luke ii. 51. By his presence of mind and 
judicious replies, whenever ensnaring questions were pro- 
posed to him, he testified the coolness and soundness of 
his understanding, Matt. xxi. 24. xxii. 16. xxx. 37. By 
avoiding all danger when he could do it consistently with 
his duty, and resolutely encountering the greatest, when 
his hour was come, i. e. when his own office or the de- 
stination of Providence made it necessary, he proved the 
sedateness of his courage in opposition to that which is 
produced by passion and enthusiasm, Matt. xii. 14, 15. 
xiv. 12, 13. John iv. 1 — 3. Compared with Matt. xv. 
17 — 19. — by his patience and forbearance, when he had 
the means of revenge in his power, he taught us the pro- 
per treatment of our enemies, Luke ix. 54. Matt. xxvi. 53. 
compared with Luke xxiii. 34. —by his withdrawing him- 
self from the populace and repelling their attempts to make 
him a king, he showed us the sense we ought to entertain 
of popular clamour and applause, John vi. 15. — by his 
laying hold of every opportunity to instruct his followers, 
and taking so much pains to inculcate his precepts, he left 
us a pattern of industry and zeal in our profession ; — by 
the liberty he took with the Pharisees and Sadducees, the 
Lawyers and Scribes, in exposing their hypocrisy, their 
errors and corruptions, he taught us fortitude in the dis- 
charge of our duty, Matt, xxiii. Luke xi. 54. — he spared 
neither the faults of his friends, nor the vices of his ene- 
mies ; — by his indifference and unconcern about his own 
accommodation and appearance, the interests of his family 
and fortune, he condemned all worldly-mindedness, Matt, 
viii. 20. xii. 46 — 50. John iv- 34- He was perfectly sober 
and rational in his devotions, as witness the Lord's Prayer 
compared with any of the compositions of modern enthu- 
siasts. His admirable discourses before his death are 
specimens of inimitable tenderness and affection towards 
his followers, John xiv. xv. xvi. xvii. His quiet submission 
to death, though even the prospect of it was terrible to 


him, exhibits a complete pattern of resignation and ac- 
quiescence in the divine will, John xxii. 41 — 44. 

And to crown all, his example was practicable, and 
suited to the condition of human life. He did not like 
Rousseau call upon mankind to return back into a state of 
nature, or calculate his precepts for such a state. He did 
not with the monk and the hermit run into caves and 
cloisters, or suppose men could make themselves more 
acceptable to God by keeping out of the way of one 
another. He did not, with some of the most eminent of 
the Stoics, command his followers to throw their wealth 
into the sea, nor with the eastern Faquirs, to inflict upon 
themselves any tedious gloomy penances, or extravagant 
mortifications. He did not, what is the sure companion of 
enthusiasm, affect singularity in his behaviour ; he dressed, 
he ate, he conversed like other people ; he accepted their 
invitations, was a guest at their feasts, frequented their 
synagogues, and went up to Jerusalem at their great 
festival. He supposed his disciples to follow some pro- 
fessions, to be soldiers, tax-gatherers, fishermen ; to marry 
wives, pay taxes, submit to magistrates, to carry on their 
usual business ; and when they could be spared from his 
service, to return again to their respective callings*. Upon 
the whole, if the account which is given of Christ in Scrip- 
ture be a just one, — if there was really such a person, how 
could he be an impostor? — if there was no such person, 
how came the illiterate Evangelists to hit off such a cha- 
racter, and that without any visible design of drawing any 
character at all ? 

* The like did his forerunner, John the Baptist. When the publicans and 
soldiers, people of the two most obnoxious professions in that age and 
country, asked John what they were to do, John does not require them to 
quit their occupations, but to beware of the vices, and perform the duties of 
them ; which also is to be understood as the Baptist's own explanation of 
that /icravotot ug ctQtmv afxctpriw to which he called his countrymen. 



That is, the improbability of any one, whether enthusiast 
or impostor, fancying or pretending himself to be such a 
person as Christ professed himself to be. 

The Jews understood their prophecies of a temporal 
prince, and therefore whoever set himself up as the object 
of these prophecies would most naturally fall upon the 
sense in which they were generally understood ; and this 
was the fact, for the false Christs, or pretended Messiahs, 
of which there have appeared so many, did assume that 

Had he taken upon him the character merely of a 
prophet, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, &c. it would not have been 
unnatural, and he had examples before him. 

Had he trod in the steps of the old philosophers, the 
rabbis or teachers of wisdom among the Jews, one would 
not have wondered. 

But here he produces himself as a being of a different 
and superior nature to the rest of the species, as im- 
mediately and peculiarly connected with God himself, as 
invested with the government of the world, as the person 
who is to raise us up at the last day, and the appointed 
judge of all mankind, a character which there was no pre- 
cedent to suggest, no example to hint, nothing to make 
him imagine it ; besides it never would have entered into 
the head of a Jew either to decry the ceremonial institution 
of Moses, or be for setting mankind on a level with them- 
selves, as there was not a man of them who did not stickle 
for the distinction and superiority of their nation. 

It was about as unlikely as that a Chinese mandarin 
should imagine himself inspired by the Holy Ghost, or a 
native of Otaheite that he was possessed by the devil. 



Christ's refusing to be made a king, John vi. 15. or to 
interfere in their civil concerns, Luke xii. 13, 14. forbidding 
his disciples to make a profit of their miracles, Matt. x. 8. 
Peter and John accordingly refusing money with the utmost 
indignation, Acts viii. 20. Christ's authorizing them only 
to require a subsistence from their converts, Luke x. 3 — 7- 
Some of them declining even this, 2 Cor. xii. 14. 1 Thess. 
ii. 9. 2 Cor. xvii. 18. ; but especially, Acts xx. 33, 34. 
their invectives against those who made a gain of their 
converts, 2 Pet. ii. 3. The apostles declining the receipt 
and management of their public funds and collections, 
Acts vi. 2, 3. 

Instances of their humility and freedom from vanity. 

Peter and John disowning any power in themselves to 
work miracles, Acts iii. 12. Paul and Barnabas repelling 
the adoration of the Lycaonians, Acts xiv. 14. Paul's 
account of himself and apostles, 1 Cor. iii. 4, 5, 6. 

Needless difficulties, Matt, xxiii. 39- 

References to circumstances omitted by themselves men- 
tioned by the other evangelists, Matt. xxvi. 61. 


Not beyond what might be discovered by reason, nor 
possibly could be, because all morality being founded in 
relations and consequences, which we experience and are 
acquainted with, must depend upon reasons intelligible to 
our understanding, and discoverable by us. 

N. B. The case is different in points of faith, especially 
what relates to distant orders of beings. 


Nor perhaps, except in a few instances, beyond what 
may be collected from the scattered precepts of different 

To put together all the wise and good precepts of all 
the different philosophers, to separate and lay aside all 
the error, immorality and superstition that is mixed with 
them, would have been a great work ; but that a single 
person without any assistance from those philosophers, or 
any human learning whatever, in direct opposition also to 
the established practice and maxims of his own country, 
should hit off a system so unblamable on the one hand, 
and so perfect on the other, is extraordinary beyond be- 
lief, and yet must be believed by those who hold Christ to 
have been an impostor or enthusiast. 

I. The forgiveness of injuries and enemies, — absolutely 

" Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love 
thy neighbour and hate thine enemy ; but I say unto you, 
love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully 
use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of 
your Father which is in heaven ; for he maketh his sun to 
rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the 
just and on the unjust." Matt. v. 43 — 45. 

" If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly 
Father will also forgive you ; but if ye forgive not men 
their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive 
you." Matt. vi. 14, 15. 

" Then came Peter unto him, and said, Lord, how oft 
shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till 
seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee 
until seven times, but until seventy times seven : therefore 
(i. e. in this respect) is the kingdom of heaven likened 
unto a certain king which would take account of his ser- 
vants ; and when he had begun to reckon, one was brought 
unto him which owned him ten thousand talents ; but, for as 
much as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be 
sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and 


payment to be made : the servant therefore fell down, and 
worshipped him, saying, lord, have patience with me, and 
I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was 
moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him 
the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one 
of his fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence ; 
and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, 
saying, pay me that thou owest ; and his fellow-servant 
fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, have 
patience with me, and I will pay thee all ; and he 
would not, but went and cast him into prison, till he 
should pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw 
what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told 
unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after 
that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked ser- 
vant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst 
me: shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy 
fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee ? And his lord 
was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he 
shou' d pay all that was due unto him ; so likewise shall my 
heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts 
forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. 1 ' Matt, 
xviii. 15 — 21, adfn. 

" And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought 
against any ; that your Father also, which is in heaven, 
may forgive you your trespasses." Mark xi. 25, 26. 

" Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping 
for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and ye 
shall be the children of the Highest, for he is kind unto the 
unthankful and to the evil." Luke vi. 27 — 35. 

" And when they were come to the place, which is 
called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the male- 
factors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left : 
then said Jesus, Father forgive them, for they know not 
what they do." Luke xxiii. 33, 34. 

II. The universality of benevolence without distinction 
of country or religion. 

" They went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans 


to make ready for him, and they did not receive him, be- 
cause his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem ; 
and when his disciples James and John saw this, they 
said, Lord, wilt thou, that we command fire to come down 
from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did ? But 
he turned and rebuked them, and said, ye know not what 
manner of spirit ye are of." Luke ix. 51 — 56. 

" The Jewish lawyer, willing to justify himself, said unto 
Jesus, and who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, 
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and 
fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and 
wounded him, and departed leaving him half dead ; and by 
chance there came down a certain priest that way, and when 
he saw him, he passed by on the other side ; and likewise a 
Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, 
and passed by on the other side ; but a certain Samaritan, as 
he journeyed, came where he was, and when he saw him he 
had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his 
wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own 
beast, and brought him to an inn, and. took care of him i 
and on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two 
pence, and gave them to the host, and said, take care of 
him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come 
again, I will repay thee : which now, of these three, thinkest 
thou, was neighbour to him that fell among the thieves ? 
And he said, he that shewed mercy on him. Then said 
Jesus unto him, go and do thou likewise." Luke x. 29 — 37. 
xvii. 8, 4. 

III. The inferiority and subordination of the ceremonial 
to the moral law. 

" Leave thy gift before the altar; and go thy way, first 
be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy 
gift.'' Matt. v. 2B. 

" If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy 
and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guilt 
less." Matt. xii. 7—12. 

" And behold there was a man which had his hand 


withered ; and they asked him, saying, is it lawful to heal 
on the sabbath days ? that they might accuse him. And 
he said unto them, what man shall there be among you, 
that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the 
sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out ? 
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Where- 
fore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days." Matt, 
xii. 11. 

" Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man ; 
but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a 
man — those things which proceed out of the mouth come 
forth from the heart, and they defile the man ; for out of 
the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, forni- 
cations, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies: these are the 
things which defile a man ; but to eat with unwashen hands 
defileth not a man:' Matt. xv. 1 1, 18—20. 

" Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for 
ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have 
omitted the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, 
and faith (fidelity) : these ought ye to have done, and not 
to leave the others undone." 

" Ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, 
but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou 
blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup 
and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also." 
Matt, xxiii. 23, 25, 26. Mark vii. 2—13. 

" And the Scribes said unto him, well, master, thou hast 
said the truth, for there is one God, and there is none 
other but he, and to love him with all the heart, and with 
all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all 
the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more 
than whole burnt offerings and sacrifices : and when Jesus 
saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, thou art 
not far from the kingdom of God." Mark xii. 32 — 34. 
Lukevi. 9. Matt ix. 11. 

IV. The condemning of spiritual pride and ostentation. 
i( Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be 


seen of them; otherwise ye shall have no reward of your 
Father which is in heaven : therefore when thou dost thine 
alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites 
do, in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have 
glory of men ; verily I say unto you they have their reward. 
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what 
thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret ; 
and thy Father, which seeth in secret, himself shall reward 
thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be 
as the hypocrites are ; for they love to pray, standing in 
the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they 
may be seen of men ; verily I say unto you, they have their 
reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy 
closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy 
Father which is in secret ; and thy Father which seeth 
in secret shall reward thee openly. Moreover when ye 
fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance ; for 
they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto 
men to fast ; verily I say unto you, they have their re- 
ward : but thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head and 
wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but 
unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, 
which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Matt, 
vi. 1—6. 16—18. 

"All their works they do for to be seen of men : they make 
broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their 
garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the 
chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, 
and to be called of men Rabbi, rabbi." Matt, xxiii. 5 — 7. 

" And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted 
in themselves that they were righteous, and despised 
others. Two men went up into the temple to pray, the 
one a pharisee, and the other a publican ; the pharisee 
stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, 
that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adul- 
terers, or even as this publican ; I fast twice in the week, I 
give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican stand- 

vol. i. c c 


ing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto 
heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merci- 
ful to me a sinner. I tell you this man went down to his 
house justified rather than the other ; for every one that 
exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he that humbleth 
himself shall be exalted." Luke xviii. 9 — 1A 

V. Restraining the licentiousness of divorces. 

" The pharisees came unto him tempting him, and say- 
ing unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife 
for every cause ? And he answered and said unto them, 
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the begin- 
ning, made them male and female ; and said, for this cause 
shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his 
wife, and they twain shall be one flesh ? wherefore they 
are no more twain but one flesh ; what therefore God hath 
joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto 
him, why did Moses then command to give a writing of 
divorcement, and to put her away ? He saith unto them, 
Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you 
to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not 
so ; and I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, 
except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, com- 
mitteth adultery ; and whoso marrieth her which is put 
away doth commit adultery." Matt. xix. 3 — 9. 

N. B. These four last articles were in direct opposition to 
the established practice and opinions of our Saviour's own 

VI. The separation of civil authority from authority 
in matters of conscience and religion — perfectly new. 

" Then saith he unto them, Render unto Caesar the 
things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that 
are God's." Matt. xxii. 21. 

" And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak 
to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. 
And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a di- 
vider over you?" Luke xii. 13, 14. 

He said unto the woman (caught in adultery), P Where 


are those thine accusers ? hath no man condemned thee ? 
(i. c. judicially ; for the woman's answer was not true in 
any other sense), she said, No man, Lord : and Jesus said 
unto her, neither do I condemn thee (i. e. in the same 
sense, or as a judge). John, viii. 11 — 33 — 36. 

VII. The purity and simplicity of the worship which he 

" When ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen 
do ; for they think that they shall be heard for their much 
speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them ; for your 
Father knoweth what things ye have need of before you 
ask him : after this manner therefore pray ye, Our Father/'* 
&c. Matt. vi. 7—9. 

" The hour cometh, and now is, when the true wor- 
shippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for 
the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit, 
and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and 
in truth." John iv. 23, 24. 

VIII. The acceptance of the intention. 

" And Jesus sat over against the treasury (i. e. for pious 
uses), and beheld how the people cast money into the trea- 
sury ; and many that were rich cast in much ; and there 
came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, 
which make a farthing ; and he called unto him his disci- 
ples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this 
poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have 
cast into the treasury, for all they did cast in of their 
abundance ; but she of her want did cast in all that she 
had, even all her living."" Mark xii. 41 — 44. 

IX. The extension of morality to the regulation of the 

" I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman 
to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already 
in his heart." Matt. v. 28. 

" Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, &c. — these 
are the things which defile a man." Matt. xv. 18, 19. 



X. The demand of duty from mankind being in propor- 
tion to their ability and opportunities. 

" That servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared 
not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be 
beaten with many stripes ; but he that knew not, and did 
commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few 
stripes : for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall 
be much required ; and (i. e. as) to whom men have com- 
mitted much, of him they will ask the more.'" Luke xii. 
47, 48. 

XL The invitations to repentance. 

" Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sin- 
ners for to hear him ; and the pharisees and scribes mur- 
mured, saying, this man receiveth sinners and eateth with 
them ; and he spake this parable unto them, saying, what 
man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of 
them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, 
and go after that which is lost till he find it ? and when he 
hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing ; and 
when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and 
neighbours, saying unto them, rejoice with me, for I have 
found my sheep which was lost- I say unto you, that like- 
wise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, 
more than over ninety and nine just persons which need 
no repentance." Luke xv. 1 — 7. 

" And he said, (i. e. upon the same occasion), A certain 
man had two sons ; and the younger of them said to his 
father, father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to 
me ; and he divided unto them his living : and not many 
days after the younger son gathered all together, and took 
his journey into a far country, and there wasted his sub- 
stance with riotous living; and when he had spent all, 
there arose a mighty famine in that land, and he began to 
be in want ; and he went and joined himself to a citizen of 
that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine, 
and he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that 


the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him ; and when 
he came unto himself, he said, how many hired servants of 
my father have bread enough and to spare, and I perish 
with hunger ? I will arise and go to my father, and say unto 
him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee> 
and am no more worthy to be called thy son ; make me as 
one of thy hired servants. And he arose and came to his 
father; but when he was yet a great way off, his father 
saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck 
and kissed him : and the son said unto him, father, I have 
sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more 
worthy to be called thy son : but the father said to his ser- 
vants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put 
a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet ; and bring hither 
the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry, for 
this my son was dead, and is alive again ; he was lost, and 
is found."" Luke xv. 1 — 24. 

The Gospel maxims of * loving our neighbour as our- 
selves," and " doing as we would be done by," are much 
superior rules of life to the to itpstov of the Greek, or ho- 
neslum of the Latin moralists, in forming ideas of which 
people put in or left out just what they pleased : and better 
also than the utile ,pr general expediency of the moderns, 
which few can estimate. As motives also, or principles of 
action, they are much safer than either the love of our 
country, which has ofttimes been destructive to the rest of 
the world ; or friendship, the almost constant source of par- 
tiality and injustice. 

His manner also of teaching was infinitely more affect- 
ing than theirs ; as may be known, by comparing what we 
feel, when we rise up from reading the parables of the 
good Samaritan, Luke x. ; the Pharisee and Publican, 
Luke xviii. ; the servant who when he was forgiven by his 
master, would not forgive his fellow-servant, Matt, xviii. ; 
the Prodigal Son, Luke xv. ; the rich man who laid up his 
stores, Luke xii. ; by comparing, I say, these with any thing 


excited in us on reading Tully's Offices, Aristotle's Ethics 
or Seneca's Moral Dissertations. 

No heathen moralist ever opposed himself as Christ did 
to the prevailing vices and corruption of his own time 
and country. Matt. v. vi. vii. xxii. Luke xix. xx. xxi. 
The sports of the gladiators, unnatural lust, and licen- 
tiousness of divorce, the exposing of infants and slaves, 
procuring abortions, public establishments of stews, all sub- 
sisted at Rome, and not one of them condemned or hinted 
at in Tully's Offices. The most indecent revellings, 
drunkenness, and lewdness practised at the feasts of Bac- 
chus, Ceres, and Cybele, and their greatest philosophers 
never remonstrated against it. 

The heathen philosophers, though they have advanced 
fine sayings and sublime precepts in some points of mo- 
rality, have grossly failed in others ; such as the toleration 
and encouragement of revenge, slavery, unnatural lust, for- 
nication, suicide, &c. &c. E. g. 

Plato expressly allowed of excessive drinking at the fes- 
tival of Bacchus. 

Maximus Tyrius forbad to pray. 

Socrates directs his hearers to consider the Greeks as 
brethren, but barbarians as natural enemies. 

Aristotle maintained that nature intended barbarians to 
be slaves. 

The Stoics held that all crimes were equal. 

Plato, Cicero, Epictetus, all allow and advise men to 
continue the idolatry of their ancestors. 

Aristotle and Cicero both speak of the forgiveness of 
injuries as meanness and pusillanimity. 

These are trifles to what follows. 

Aristotle* and Plato both direct that means should be 
used to prevent weak children being brought up. 

Cato commends a young man for frequenting the stews. 

* See Dr. Priestley's Institutes of Natural and Revealed Re- 


Cicero speaks expressly of fornication as a thing never 
found fault with. 

Plato recommends a community of women ; also advises 
that soldiers should not be restrained from sensual indul- 
gences, even the most unnatural species of it. 

Xenophon relates, without any marks of reprobation, that 
unnatural lust was encouraged by the laws of several Gre- 
cian states. 

Solon, their great lawgiver, forbad it only to slaves. 

Diogenes inculcated and openly practised the most 
brutal lust. 

Zeno the founder, and Cato the ornament, of the stoic 
philosophy, both killed themselves. 

Lastly, the idea which the Christian Scriptures exhibit 
of the Deity is, in many respects, different from the notion 
that was then entertained of him, but perfectly consonant 
to the best information we have of his nature and attri- 
butes, from reason and the appearance of the universe. 
The Scripture describes him as one, wise, powerful, spi- 
ritual, and omnipresent ; as placable and impartial ; as 
abounding in affection towards his' creatures, overruling 
by his providence the concerns of mankind in this world* 
and designing to compensate their sufferings, reward their 
merit, and punish their crimes in another. The foregoing 
instructions, both with regard to God and to morality, ap- 
pear also without any traces of either learning or study. 
No set proofs, no formal arguments, no regular deduction 
or investigation by which such conclusion could be de- 
rived — the very different state likewise of learning and in* 
quiry in Judea and other countries, and the vast supe- 
riority of this to any other system of religion, — all these 
circumstances show that the authors of it must have had 
some sources of information which the others had not 



Matthew and John, both apostles and companions of 
Christ, St. Luke only a proselyte of Antioch, who gathered 
his account from different eye-witnesses : accordingly we 
find St. Matthew and St. John's history nearly exact in 
the order of time, St. Luke's not. — St. Matthew, only con- 
verted after Christ came into Galilee, Matt. iv. 12, John 
iv. 1, and therefore has omitted what passed as to Christ's 
preaching before St. John, who was with him all the while, 
has supplied this omission in his first three chapters. 

Now this suitableness is a circumstance of so subtle and 
recluse a nature, that the author of a fiction or forgery 
would never have thought of providing against it. 


These contradictions and variations, whether seeming or 
real, prove thus much, that they did not concert their story 
with one another, or lay their heads together to make it 
up — their agreement in the main, and in the substance of 
the history, proves that they must have had some foundation 
of truth and fact to go upon ; it being morally impossible 
that four people should feign or forge these stories inde- 
pendent of one another, and their fictions concur and har- 
monize so well together. Suppose you and I, one living 
at Paris the other at London, and without any communi- 
cation betwixt us, should take it into our heads to frame 
out of our own imagination the history of a reformer, is it 
possible that our stories when they came out should be of 
a piece or hang together as the Gospels do ? 


The truth is, the account given of our Saviour's life by 
the different Evangelists is just such an account as different 
witnesses in courts of justice, if they are honest and inde- 
pendent of one another, generally give of the same trans- 
action ; some real variation in their story, many seeming 
ones, but an agreement in the substance and principal facts 
of the narrative. 

Add to this, that if there be any seeming differences, 
which upon farther examination are reconcileable and turn 
out real agreements, it goes still farther to the credit of the 
evidence. These seeming differences prove that they had 
no scheme or combination to deceive, and it is the merest 
chance in the world that these differences should be cleared 
up and made consistent, if they had no foundation of truth 
to proceed upon. 

Instances of stick seeming Contradictions, which upon a 
nearer view admit qf being reconciled. 

1. The hour of Christ's crucifixion, Matt, xxvii. 45, 
compared with John, xix. 14. — Matthew computed his 
hours in the Jewish fashion from 6 o'clock in the morning, 
John in the Roman way, from 12 o'clock at night. 

2. The manner of Judas's death, Matt, xxvii. 5, com- 
pared with Acts, i. 18. — Judas might hang himself, as 
Matthew relates, and the body fall down and burst, ac- 
cording to the Acts. 

3. The thieves rebuking Christ, Matt, xxvii. 44, when 
it could only be one of them, Luke, xxiii. 43. — Matthew 
says, the thieves cast the same in his teeth, when only one 
of them did so, just as we say a man is insulted by the 
mob, though perhaps only one or two of them speak to 

4. The call of Andrew, Matt. iv. 19, compared with 
John, i. 40. — The call, or invitation in John previous to 
that in Matthew, which also accounts for their so readily 
following him in Matthew. 


5. Christ bearing his own cross, John, xix. 17; laid upon 
Simon, a Cyrenian, Matt, xxvii. 32. — Laid upon Christ 
first, as John relates, probably upon his fainting on the 
way, or being unable to bear it, they seized upon Simon. 

6. John called Elias, Matt. xi. 14, not Elias John, i. 21. 
— Was Elias in Christ's sense, i. e. the person whom Ma- 
lachi foretold by that name — not Elias in the sense of the 
question, i. e. not the old prophet restored to life. 

7. The different order of time in which Matthew and 
Luke relate several events. 

N. B. This argument holds equally of St. Paul's Epistles 
compared with the Acts of the Apostles, and with one 

Another singular agreement is the similarity of style, 
i. e. the speaking "pro re nata" preserved in our Saviour's 
discourses throughout all the Evangelists, — nothing of it 
in the speeches recorded in the Acts or in any of St. Paul's 
epistles; when different profane historians, as Tacitus, 
Livy, Sallust, &c. have put speeches into the mouth of the 
same person : there is no sameness or similarity of style 
whatever, the several speeches follow the style of the 
several historians that record them. 

Sects and Opinions. 

Pharisees and Sadducees, the existence and opposition 
of these sects, Acts, xxiii. 6 — 10 ; the supernumerary tra- 
ditions of the Pharisees, Mark, viii. 34; their influence 
with the people ; Pharisees holding, Sadducees denying a 
resurrection, Acts, xxiii. 6 ; both sharing in public offices, 
Acts, v. 17; all these particulars to be found in Josephus ; 
Samaritans ; the sanctity of mount Gerizim, John, iv. 20 ; 
the hatred betwixt them and the Jews, John, viii. 48; 
road from Galilee to Jerusalem leads through Samaria, 
John, iv. 3, 4 ; an instance also of the ill treatment of the 
Jews similar to that of Christ, Luke, ix. 51 ; all mentioned 
by Josephus ; as also the general expectation among the 
Jews of a temporal prince, Luke, iii. 15, Matt. xxi. 8, 9- 


Customs and Manners. 

Oratorios and prayers by the sea or river side, Jos. Ter- 
tullian, Pliilo ; libertines, i. e. Jews, freedmen of Rome, 
Acts, vi. 9, Tacitus ; zeal in making proselytes, Matt, xxiii. 

15, Hor. 

Ac veluti te 

Judaei cogimus in banc concedere turbam. 

The corruption of manners in Judaea, Matt. xii. 39, John, 
v. 44 ; " nor was there ever," says Josephus, " from the be- 
ginning of the world a time more fruitful of wickedness 
than that was." — The custom of rending their clothes, 
Matt. xxvi. 65, 1 Mace. xi. 71 ; also Maimonides says, that 
" when witnesses speak out the blasphemy which they 
have heard, all who hear the blasphemy are bound to rend 
their clothes," — a^ts^sis in the plural, Mark, xiv. 53, Jos. ; 
the Roman governor present at the passover, Matt, xxvii. 
2, Jos. ; titles set up over the malefactor, 1 John, xix. 19, 
20, customary with the Romans, Suet. Dio. ; scourging 
before they put them to death, Matt, xxvii. 26, Livy, Jos. ; 
compelling the malefactor to carry his cross, John, xix. 

16, 17, Plutarch ; crucified without the city, Num. xv. 35 ; 
burial of malefactors generally allowed by the Roman go- 
vernors upon petition, Matt, xxvii. 58 ; Paulus, a Roman 
lawyer ; customary among the Jews to bury malefactors, 
Jos. ; use of spices in burial, and in large quantities, John, 
xix. 19 — 40; Josephus 1 account of Herod's funeral; the 
fury of the Jews against the Christians in different places 
and times, and the moderation and lenity of the Roman 
governors at Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, Judasa, 
Rome under Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, Acts, xvii. 59 ; xviii. 
11—15; xix. 24—40; xxviii. 16; xxv. 13—27; the fury 
of the Jews attested by Justin Martyr, Dio. ; the Roman 
custom of protecting men in the exercise of their religion, 
Livy, Cicero, Philo, Josephus ; prodigious resort to Jeru- 
salem at the feasts, and from all parts of the world, John, 


iv. 45 ; xii. 12, 13 ; Acts, ii. 5 ; Josephus mentions 270,000 ; 
also proselytes, ibid. ; custom of frequenting the temple at 
the third and ninth hour, Acts, ii. 46, Jos. ; their zeal for 
the temple, Acts, vi. 13 ; xxi. 28, 29, Philo, Jos. ; syna- 
gogue worship, the reading of the law and discourses to 
the people, Luke, iv. 17 — 20; Acts, xv. 21; xiv. 1, Jos.; 
the Nazarite's vow, Acts, xviii. 18 ; xxi. 23, 24, Jos. ; being 
a charge upon them as an act of devotion, that they might 
shave their heads, both the custom and expression of the 
Jews, Jos. ; number of stripes, 2 Cor. xi. 24 ; Deut. xxv. 3, 
Jos. ; private zeal, i. e. attempts of private persons to avenge 
their laws, Acts, xx. 3; xxiii. 10 — 15, Philo; Josephus 
relates a conspiracy of the like kind against Herod ; tri- 
bute odious, Matt. xxii. 17, Jos. ; and publicans, Luke, 
xix. 7, Cicero ; yet Jews, Jos. ; the custom of using tor- 
ture, Acts, xxii. 24, 25, Suet., Tacitus ; by scourging, ibid, 
ibid. ; yet unlawful to scourge a Roman, Acts, xxii. 25 — 

30, Cicero; the military commander which Lysias was, 
ibid. ; had this authority, Jos. ; that a Jew might be a 
Roman citizen, Acts, xxii. 26 — 29, Philo, Jos. ; custom of 
purchasing this freedom, ibid., Dio. ; that it was the Roman 
custom to confront the offender with his accusers, Acts, 
xxv. 14 — 16, Cic. in Verrem; the manner of confining 
prisoners by chaining them to a soldier, Acts, xii. 6 ; xxviii. 
16, Seneca ; in the prisoner's own house, Acts, xxviii. 30, 

31, Jos.; history of the imprisonment of Herod; appeals 
to Rome from the provinces, Acts, xxv. 10, Suetonius ; 
especially from Judaea, Jos. ; the praefect of the praetorian 
band, or captain of the guard, had the custody of prisoners, 
Acts, xxviii. 16, Pliny ; the building of the temple, John, 
xviii. 20; continued from the 18th year of Herod's reign 
to A. D. 65; famine in Judaea in the time of Claudius, 
Acts, xi. 29, Jos. ; the altar at Athens inscribed ayvwcrrw Qscu, 
Acts, xvii. 23 ; Pausanias, Philostratus, Philopatris ; Jews 
banished from Rome by Claudius, Acts, xviii. 2, Suetonius ; 
whitened sepulchres, Matt, xxiii. 29, Shaw's Travels, p. 


Expressions in use among the Jews. 

Titles of their Messiah, consolation of Israel, L. ii. 25 ; 
Chaldee paraphrase, E. 2, C. ii. 1 ; oepxppevos, Matt. xi. 3, 
Jewish prayers; horn; branch, avocTO\r h Luke, i. 69 — 78; 
Germen Davidis servi tui germinare fac cito et cornu ejus, 
i. e. Davidis exalta in salute, Jewish prayers; gates of 
hell, i. e. councils of hell, Matt. xvi. 18; metaphor from 
the Jewish custom of holding councils in the gates of 
their cities ; having maids ministras at their meetings, Acts, 
xii. 13, Pliny ; ayairou, love-feasts among the first Christians, 
2 Pet. ii. 13; Jude v. 12, Pliny; Gamaliel, Acts, xxii. 3, 
mentioned in the Mishna (an ancient Jewish writing) as of 
great eminence in the law. 

N. B. These agreements, many of them in minute cir- 
cumstances ; and it is in such chiefly that a forger or fa- 
bulist would have been caught tripping. 

This exact concurrence of the Scripture with other hi- 
stories, and in such numerous and minute circumstances, 
proves at least thus much, that the writers of Scripture 
were well acquainted with the history, policy, laws, reli- 
gious opinions, manners, customs, geography, and dates of 
that age and country, and consequently must have lived in 
them or near them ; and then it comes to this, whether it is 
likely that any person should publish a history of facts in 
the very age in which they are said to have happened, and 
many of them in the most public places and noted cities of 
the world, and call upon mankind to change their prin- 
ciples and practice upon the credit of these facts, when 
nothing of the kind had ever actually happened ; and whe- 
ther such a publication would not have been treated at the 
time as a manifest and ridiculous forgery. 

It proves more, it proves that the history could not have 
been forged even by persons at the time, as no man's me- 
mory or knowledge is sufficient for such an adaptation of 
forged circumstances, especially where the mention of them 
is so incidental and apparently undesigned. 



No. L 
Vid. Bishop Newton on Prophecy, vol. i. p. 85. 
Gen. xlix. 10. 
Here it is implied — 1. that the sceptre should depart 
from the other tribes sooner. 
%. that it should remain with the 
tribe of Judah till Shiloh came. 
3. that it should then also depart 
from them. 
And the event was — 1. that the ten tribes were extin- 
guished in Assyria 500 years be- 
fore Christ. 

2. that the tribe of Judah continued 
a people and in possession of 
their country till Christ came. 

3. that they also were then destroy- 
ed, i. e. their nation and govern- 
ment demolished by the Romans. 

No. II. 

Vid. Kennicott's Sermon, 1765, Dodsley. 

- Isaiah vii. 10 — 16. 

Which translate thus : " Hear ye now, O house of David, 

is it a small thing with you to weary men, but will ye weary 

my God also ? nevertheless, Jehovah himself will give you 

a sign (or miracle). — Behold 4 a virgin shall conceive and 

bear a son, and call his name Immanuel : milk and honey 

shall he eat, till he shall know to refuse the evil and choose 

the good." 

" But before this child," (pointing to his own son, who 
was with him, v. 3,) " shall know to refuse the evil and 
choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be for- 
saken of both her kings." 


No. III. 
Vid. Bishop Chandler's Defence of Christianity. 
Isaiah lii. 13. liii. 12. 
N. B. This prophecy converted Lord Rochester : vid. 
Burnet's Life of him. 

Note — v. 14, 15. in like manner, as many wonder at his 
obscure appearance, so shall they afterwards be astonished 
with his glory. 

V. 8. " he was taken from prison and from judgment," 
render it, " he was taken oft' by authority and a judicial 
sentence," i. e. executed as a malefactor. 

No. IV. 

Vid. Chandler, p. 124. 

Micah, v. 2. 

Note — v. 4. instead of " therefore," render it, " never- 

V. 5, 6. the future enemies of the Jews, described under 
the names of the Assyrian and Babylonian, their known 
enemies in Micah's time ; just as Jerusalem is called Sodom 
and Gomorrah, Isa. i. 10. 

No. V. 

Vid. Chandler, p. 52. 
Malachi, hi. 1—3. 

Note — v. 1. two persons spoke of, 1st. " the messenger 
who shall prepare the way before me," i. e, John the Bap- 
tist ; 2dly. " the Lord whom ye seek, the messenger of the 
covenant whom ye delight in," i. e. the Messiah himself, 
whom they so earnestly expected, and from whom they 
promised themselves so much. 

Ibid. " shall suddenly come ;" i. e. suddenly after the mes- 
senger that was to prepare his way. 


No. VI. 

Vid. Chandler, p. 71. 

Haggai, ii. 6 — 9. 

Note — v. 6, describes the civil commotions which should 
precede the coming of the Messiah, and which in fact took 
place and shook the Roman empire, from the death of 
Julius Caesar to the birth of Christ. 

V. 8. I value not the splendor of silver and gold. 

No. VII. 
Vid. Chandler, p. 109, or I. Newton on Daniel. 
Daniel, ix. 24—27. 
Here among other things it is foretold : 

1. That after a certain period the most holy, the Mes- 
siah, the prince should appear. 

2. That he should be cut off, i. e. put to death. 

3. That some future and foreign nation should then 
destroy the city and the sanctuary. 

All which was punctually fulfilled. 

Aa to the periods here assigned it is on all hands, by 
Jews and Christians, agreed that the weeks are to be rec- 
koned weeks, not of days but of years, i. e. seven years to 
a week, vid. Lev. xxv. 8 ; Dan. x. 3, instead of " zvhole 
weeks," it is in the original weeks of days. 

Now according to this way of reckoning, it was just JO 
weeks, or 490 years, from the Jews being reincorporated 
into a people and a holy city, and the death of Christ, 
" whereby transgression should be finished and sins ended, 
iniquity be expiated, and everlasting righteousness brought 
in, and this vision be accomplished, and the prophecy con- 
summated," v. 24, Sir I. Newton's Translation. 

V. 27, " yet shall he confirm the covenant with many for 
one week," i. e. shall preach the covenant to the Jews for 
one week or seven years, which was the exact time from 


the death of Christ to the first calling of the Gentiles and 
rejection of the Jews. 

V. 27, render it, " in half a week he shall cause the 
sacrifice and oblation to cease," i. e. by the Roman army, 
who in three years and a half, i. e. in half a week from the 
first invasion, destroyed the city and temple. 

N. B. The Jews themselves applied all these prophecies, 
except No. II., to their Messiah. 


Gen. xxii.18. Deut. xviii. 15. compared with Deut. 
xxxiv. 9. Psalm ii. — ex. Isaiah ii. 1 — 5. ix. 1 — 7. xi. 1 
—10. xxix. 18—24. xxxv. 4—6. xl. 1—11. xlii. 1—9. xlix. 
1 — 13. Jeremiah xxxi. 31 — 34. Daniel ii. 31 — 45. vii. 
13, 14. Joel ii. 28. Zechariah ii. 10—13. ix. 9—11. 

Commentariola upon some of the Prophecies above. 

Psalm ex. translate " Jehovah said unto my Lord, sit 
thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy 

" Jehovah shall send the rod of thy strength from Sion, 
that thou mayest rule in the midst of thy enemies. 

" Thy people shall be zealous in the day of thy army, 
(shall shine) in the beauties of holiness : more than from 
the womb of the morning to thee shall be the dew of thy 

" Jehovah hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a 
priest for ever after the order of Melchizedech. 

" The Lord on thy right hand shall shake kings in the 
day of his indignation : he shall execute judgement in the 
nations with a great army : he shall shake the chief over 
the great land. 

" He shall drink of the torrent (i. e. of afflictions) in the 

VOL. I. D D 


way ; therefore shall his head be exalted.' 1 Vid. Sharpens 
Defence of Christianity, p. 1308. 

Zechariah ix. 10, " and I will cut off the chariot from 
Ephraim," &c. i. e. I will establish his kingdom by other 
means than those of war. 

Isaiah ix. 1, translate, " though he lightly afflicted the 
land of Zabulon and the land of Naphtali, he shall greatly 
honour her," &c. Mede. 

Joel ii. 30, 31, relate to the destruction of Jerusalem. 


Vid. Newton on Prophecy, vol. ii. p. 220. — Jortin 
on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 33. 

Of the temple, " there shall not be left here one stone 
upon another that shall not be thrown down." Of the city, 
" they shall lay thee even with the ground, and shall not 
leave in thee one stone upon another." Luke xix. 44. The 
temple burnt to the ground against the inclination of Titus 
by the obstinacy of the Jews, who had fortified themselves 
in it. Titus, after it was burnt, ordered his soldiers to dig 
or plough up the foundations of the city and temple, which 
was executed, as to the temple, by Terentius Rufus. Vid. 
Josephus, Jewish Talmud. 

" Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, 
and shall deceive many," mentioned as a sign of and con- 
sequently to precede the destruction of Jerusalem. Matt, 
xxiv. 4, 5 ; accordingly we find that before this destruction 
arose Dositheus a Samaritan, and Theudas ; and in the 
reign of Nero, these impostors, i. e, pretended Messiahs, 
were so frequent, that many of them were apprehended 
and killed every day. Josephus. 

" Wherefore if they shall say, behold he is in the desert, 
go not forth." Matt. xxiv. 26. Josephus informs us that 


many impostors and cheats persuaded men to follow them 
into the desert, where they promised to show wonders and 
signs. The Egyptian false prophet, mentioned by Josephus 
and the Acts, led into the desert 4000 that were murderers. 
Two others also of the same kind spoken of by Josephus. 

As another sign, and consequently what was to precede 
this destruction, " ye shall hear of wars and rumours of 
wars, for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom 
against kingdom." Matt. xxiv. 6, 7. Christ most probably 
would refer to those wars and tumults in which the Jews, 
to whom he spoke, would be concerned, and we find, 
before the Romans entered Judaea, a dispute at Caesarea 
between the Jews and Syrians, about the right of the city, 
in which 20,000 Jews were slain, upon which a general 
war broke out between them ; so that every city, says Jo- 
sephus, was divided into two armies ; upon which occasion 
bloody contests broke out between the Jews and inhabitants 
at Scythopolis, in which fell 13,000 at Askelon, 25,000 at 
Tyre, at Gadara many, at Alexandria 50,000, at Damascus 
10,000. About this time also the Jews of Peraea rose up 
against the inhabitants of Philadelphia, Jews and Gali- 
laeans against the Samaritans, and the whole nations of 
the Jews against Agrippa ; and not only throughout Judaea 
there were sedition and civil wars, but in Italy also, where 
Otho and Vitellius were contending for the empire. Jo- 

u There shall be famines in divers places. " Matt. xxiv. 
?. Suetonius mentions a famine in the days of Claudius, 
alluded to Acts xi. 28 ; and was so severe at Jerusalem, 
that Josephus says many perished for want of victuals. 

And " pestilences," K[mv re koli Xo^ov, (the very words of 
Christ) imprecated upon the Jews, according to Josephus, 
by Niger, which, says he, God brought to pass upon the 

And " earthquakes in divers places. 1 ' An earthquake 
at Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, in Crete, mentioned by 



Philostratus ; one at Laodicea in the reign of Nero, by 
Tacitus ; in Campania, by Seneca ; in Judaea, by Josephus. 

" There shall be fearful sights and great signs from 
heaven." Luke xxi. 11. Josephus relates that a comet 
hung over the city for a year, and that at the ninth hour 
of the night there shone a sudden light about the altar 
and the temple : several other prodigies mentioned by 
Josephus. Tacitus also adds, " visas per ccelum concur- 
rere acies, rutilantia arma, et subito nubium igne collucere 

" This generation shall not pass till all these things be 
fulfilled." Matt. xxiv. 34. The destruction of Jerusalem 
happened forty years after. 

" Let them which be in Judaea flee to the mountains." 
Matt. xxiv. 15. Many, says Josephus, when the Roman 
army advanced against Jerusalem, fled i%$ fyv opeivyv. Euse- 
bius tells us that all who believed in Christ left Judaea, 
and removed to Pella. 


When they relate the miracle they mention the name, 
time, place, occasion, circumstances, the diseases that were 
cured, the persons healed or raised, the witnesses present, 
proceedings also and sentences of courts of justice in con- 
sequence of them, in cities of the first rank and of the 
greatest resort, and before persons of the highest distinc- 

A forger or relater of falsehood could scarce have fur- 
nished out such a list of particulars, and would avoid it, 
as it is putting into his reader's hands the means of de- 
tecting him ; thus you observe a great want of the parti- 
culars of time, place, and persons in Manetho's account of 
the Egyptian dynasties, Ctesias's of the Assyrian kings, 


and those which the chronologists give of the ancient 
kingdoms of Greece, and accordingly those accounts con- 
tain much fiction and falsehood; whereas Thucydides's 
History of the Peloponnesian War, and Caesar's of the 
War in Gaul, in hoth which, like the Scriptures, these 
particulars abound, are universally allowed to be true and 

They were wrought, or professed to be wrought, before 
the public, Acts xxvi. 26, 1 Cor. xv. 6 ; in the synagogues 
and temple, before enemies and unbelievers, John ix. Acts 
iii. 9, 10. 

In a learned age and civilised country, polite and best 
inhabited parts of the world. 

Acknowledged by adversaries, who attributed them to 
evil spirits or magic. 

At a time when men wanted neither power nor inclina- 
tion to expose them if they were impostors, and were in 
no danger of being called atheists and heretics, of being 
insulted by the populace, hunted down by the clergy, or 
persecuted by the civil magistrate for ridiculing and de- 
riding them. 

Various and numerous. 

Of a permanent nature, and might be reviewed and 

Had nothing in them fantastical and cruel, but were 
acts of kindness and beneficence. 

Miracles had ceased long before Christ appeared, and 
therefore these pretensions would the more excite the at- 
tention of mankind. 

Did in fact convert multitudes. 

Were attested by proper witnesses. 

For any men to publish such a history of such things as 
lately done, if not true, could have been only to expose 
themselves to an easy confutation and certain infamy. Sup- 
pose three or four books should now appear amongst us 
in the language most generally understood, giving an' ac- 
count of many remarkable and extraordinary events which 


had happened in some kingdom of Europe, and in the 
most noted cities of the country next adjoining to it, some 
betwixt sixty and seventy, others between twenty or thirty, 
others again within a very few years, and should call upon 
mankind to change their principles and practice upon the 
credit of these events, when nothing of the kind had ever 
actually happened — would they not be treated as a manifest 
and ridiculous forgery ? Is it likely a design so wild and 
extravagant should enter into the head of any sober serious 
person in the world ? 


Whether God did or did not interpose in establishing 
the Christian religion, is another question ; but most certain 
it is, that it was worthy of him : it was agreeable to all the 
notions we entertain of his attributes, to show himself, to 
put forth his power, in behalf of a religion which was to set 
mankind right in a matter they had almost universally mis- 
taken, and of the utmost consequence, — the character and 
unity of the being who governed them, which was to su- 
persede paganism, and that looseness of manners which 
it produced or tolerated ; and above all, was to give men 
surer and clearer hopes of a future state, than they either 
had or could have from any faculties God had furnished 
them with, and upon which hopes the happiness and virtue 
of mankind so much depend — and a religion too, which, 
from the insuperable difficulties that stood in its way, could 
not have established itself without such assistance. 

Infidels lay much stress on the natural improbability of 
the thing itself. I see little in that : if you once allow that 
there is a God who made and takes care of the world, it 
is the likeliest thing imaginable that he should give his 
creatures, who were capable of it, a rule of life, and esta- 
blish it by suitable sanctions — and one does not see how 
this could be done otherwise than by miracle, 



Obj. 1st. That a miracle can never be made credible by 
any human testimony whatever, as it contradicts all our 
experience ; that the miracle should be true, does not con- 
tradict experience that human testimony should be false. 

A single instance will answer the objection. 

It absolutely contradicts the experience of the Emperor 
of China, that water should become hard by cold ; yet if 
twelve men should solemnly affirm they had seen it so ; if 
they were men of good characters and exemplary lives, — 
if there was no discoverable temptation for them to tell a 
lie about the matter, — if it was impossible they could be 
mistaken, — if they were insulted and ill-treated for main- 
taining such a seeming absurdity, yet still persisted in it, — 
if the emperor called them before him, and charged them 
to have done with such nonsense, and they went on affirm- 
ing it, — if he imprisoned, beat, banished them, and they 
neither varied nor retracted their story, — if he offered 
them their lives and liberty if they would confess it to be 
false, and, instead of confessing it, they insisted upon their 
assertions to the last, — the Emperor of China, I say, not- 
withstanding all his experience, and all the confidence that 
the most conceited man upon earth ever placed in his ex- 
perience, must be a madman not to believe them. 

Obj. 2d. That there are miracles supported by as good 
testimony as those of the Gospel, which yet we allow to be 
false — some of the miracles of popery, for instance ; and 
consequently such testimony cannot be depended upon. 

We deny that these miracles are built upon the like 
evidence that we have for those of Christ. 

Vid. Campbell on Miracles 

Douglas's Criterion. 

There are two principal circumstances which extend to 
them all. 

1st. That they taught men nothing different from what 


they believed before — called upon them to do nothing but 
what they had all along done — made no converts from one 
religion to another — and consequently men had neither 
the same reluctance to receive, nor the same reason to 
examine them, as those of Christ. 

£dly. That they were supported by authority, or had on 
their side the established opinions and prejudice of those 
among whom they were wrought ; insomuch that it was 
highly dangerous, not only to inquire, but hint a suspicion 
about them ; the direct contrary of which was the case with 
the miracles of Christ. Hence we hear nothing of those 
miracles where they should be most wanting, — in protestant 
countries. No examples of miracles, properly attested, 
few indeed ever pretended to, by persons in circumstances 
at all similar to those of Christ ; that is to say, among ene- 
mies, unbelievers — to make converts — in contradiction to 
the power and prejudices of the country ; none, for instance, 
by any of the old reformers, the founders of the sects 
of the Waldenses and Albigenses ; Wickliffe in England ; 
Huss or Jerome in Bohemia ; Luther in Germany ; Zuin- 
glius in Switzerland ; Calvin in France ; or the Anabap- 
tists of Munster, though the most outrageous fanatics that 
ever appeared; nor even by Mahomet, with still greater 

3dly. No man ever gave up his time, traversed sea and 
land, quitted his profession, parted with his family and 
fortune, to publish them to the world — no man ever laid 
down his life, or even suffered persecution and distress in 
attestation of them. 

Obj. 1. The Propagation of false Religions, especially the 
Success of Paganism and Mahometanism. 
As to paganism, scarce deserving the name of religion 
— not the same, even as to the history or object of worship, 
hardly in any two countries of the world— no public, au- 
thentic, or generally received history of facts — no system 
of laws and precepts built upon them; that is to say, no 


miracles produced as connected with a system of doctrines, 
or as express vouchers for the truth of it — their mytho- 
logy ridiculed and rejected by almost every man of learning 
and reflection among them — contained only in the writings 
of poets and fabulists, whose very profession was fiction, or 
in vague oral traditions. If their stories found a place in 
any serious history, it was generally some hundred years 
after the fact, evidently borrowed from one country to an- 
other, with additions and modifications of their own. 

Their magic rites contemptible. 

Nero was extravagantly fond of the art of magic, and 
sent for the most eminent professors of it from all parts of 
the world. The issue was, his own and the general con- 
viction of the folly of their pretences. 

As to Mahometanism, 
Vid. Reland de Religione Mohammed. 

Mahomet never pretended to miracles, and, conse- 
quently, whatever proof the Mahometans may have of their 
religion, it cannot be of the same nature as ours. 

Again, Mahomet acknowledged Christ to be a prophet 
— contended that he was the itapot.K\yros whom Christ pro- 
mised : so that Mahometanism at the most is only a heresy ; 
it is still a species of Christianity. 

Mahomet would find an easier reception in the world, 
as he did not call either upon Jews or Christians to deny 
or own the falsehood of their former religion — only made 
additions to it. 

Mahomet was a soldier and a conqueror. Multitudes 
were invited to follow him by his successes, many forced 
into obedience, and more still dazzled by his victories — a 
very different case and character from that of Christ. 
. Mahomet's religion in some respects flattered the pas- 
sions of the East, particularly in the allowance of polygamy, 
divorce, and the sensual pleasures of his paradise : and a 
cause which contributed as much as any to the success of 
Mahometanism was the corrupt state of Christianity when 


it made its appearance, i. e. A. D. 622. Most of the ab- 
surdities of the Romish church were by this time creep- 
ing into the Christian religion — absurdities, some of them 
which shocked and disgusted the common reason of man- 
kind, and drove them to a religion which, though little else 
can be said for it, is simple and intelligible. 

Mahometanism prevailed also in the darkest ages and 
countries in the world. 

Obj. 2. The Rejection of Christ by Jews and Gentiles. 

If we can account for this rejection consistently with the 
reality of the miracles, we answer the objection. 

The Jews of Christ's time attributed his miracles to evil 
spirits, Matt. xii. 24, in which they were followed by the 
authors of the Talmud. 

Exasperated against him by his reproofs, and the disap- 
pointment of their expectations. The character he assumed 
was directly contrary to what they had for ages believed 
their Messiah would be — contrary, as they thought, to the 
express declaration of many of their prophecies. 

The Heathens ascribed his miracles to magic, as the 
Jews did to evil spirits, as appears from Porphyry, Julian, 
Celsus, Hierocles ; too idle and unconcerned in general to 
inquire about it, regarding it as one of the many thousand 
various religions which subsisted in the world, and which 
the wiser sort treated as so many ridiculous superstitions. 

The best of them acquiesced in the general persuasion 
that all they had to do was to practise the duties of mo- 
rality, and to worship the Deity more patrio — a persuasion 
which at once shut out all arguments for any new religion. 

What a contempt do the great and rich men of rank, and 
fortune, and wit, and abilities, the generality of them, how- 
ever, entertain for the Methodists ! How difficult would a 
poor Methodist find it to gain access to such persons, to 
persuade them into his opinions, or even to obtain an equita- 
ble or impartial hearing, let him have what he would to 
offer ! An infinitely greater contempt was there at that time 


of the teachers of Christianity, and a greater reluctance to 
be taught by them. They passed with the great men and 
philosophers of that time as so many madmen, babblers ; 
their religion, as a superstition of their own concerning one 
Jesus, who was put to death, and whom they affirmed to 
be alive ; and what much increased their contempt of Chris- 
tianity was, that they reckoned it a species or sect of Ju- 

Obj. 5. The Silence qfJosephus about Christ or his 

This objection, if it proves any thing, proves too much ; 
for it proves that there was no such person as Christ, no 
such religion as Christianity preached in the world, which 
is impossible, as well as contrary to the express testimony 
of all antiquity both sacred and profane. 

This silence, therefore, of Josephus's, can only be ac- 
counted for by supposing it designed, ex consulto t from his 
resolving to say nothing upon a subject, which, perhaps, 
he doubted about, and did not know how to represent — 
from its reflecting too much upon the honour of his coun- 
try, which he was extremely jealous of — or, lastly, for fear 
of giving offence or alarm to the Roman rulers, under 
whom he lived and wrote. 

Obj.. 6. The Number of Infidels in tJie World. 
Vid. Le Clerc on Incredulity. 

Now if we can account for the existence of so much in- 
fidelity, without supposing any want of reasonable evidence 
for religion, we answer the objection. 

Causes, therefore, of unbelief are, first, 

Many infidels are, at the same time, men of loose and 
profligate lives, who begin at the wrong end ; with the prac- 
tice first, and then take up the principles. No argument 
in the world will ever persuade such men to part with their 
mistresses, their gaming, their revels; to give up their 


diversions, habit, company, conversation. It may look 
like scurrility to charge men in the lump with immorality, 
because they do not believe as we do ; but if one considers 
the manners of high life ; how repugnant they in general are 
to the rules of the Gospel ; what a revolution of conduct, 
what a stripping-off of pleasure there must be, if you put 
them under the discipline of religion ; what ways and means 
they are put to to get or keep their places and honours ; 
and, consequently, what it would cost them to turn vir- 
tuous : and besides, what little leisure high life affords for 
reflection, — what few opportunities of information, — what 
slender inducements and extreme aversion they have to 
turn their thoughts upon a subject so melancholy and 
gloomy as religion appears to them to be ; — I say, if one lays 
all these considerations together, one may see that it is no 
small number of unbelievers who come under this class. 

Over and above the invincible bias which vicious plea- 
sures create against religion, it is also a certain though un- 
accountable effect of them to confuse and debilitate the 
understanding, so as to leave a man a proper judge scarce 
of any thing. Besides, a man, who, living up to the rules 
of Christianity, finds the good effects of them upon him- 
self, has a species of evidence which those others want. 
John vii. 17. 


Every man of science or distinction has a passion for lift- 
ing himself above the vulgar. Nothing so flattering as 
to fancy one's self placed upon an eminence, and looking 
down upon the errors and absurdities, and follies and 
foibles, and tricks and contrivances, of the rest of mankind. 
Now to believe religion is to believe and know no more 
than what the lowest person in the street knows in the main, 
and believes as well as we do : it is setting ourselves upon 
a level with carpenters, and tailors, and farmers, and me- 
chanics ; with methodists, old women, and country parsons : 
whereas to see into it, and through it — to get as it were 
behind the scenes, and see mankind paying one another off, 


is infinitely gratifying to the conceit and ambition of the 

human mind. 


A large tribe of infidels are your giddy, hasty young fel- 
lows, who, without information or inquiry about the matter, 
take up infidelity all of a sudden, upon the first difficulty 
they meet with, upon a single objection or two which they 
happen to hear (a ridiculous story, perhaps, of a forged 
miracle, without at all attending to the distinguishing cir- 
cumstances), and when once they have avowed their disbe- 
lief of Christianity, it becomes a point of honour, as well as 
of obstinacy, to persist in it. 

There are many such, whom, if you were to examine, 
you would find extremely quick and ready with their ob- 
jections, but with very little knowledge either of the facts, 
or reasons, or answers on the other side of the question. 
A trifling objection, by being frequently urged, and ad- 
vanced, and maintained, makes so great an impression 
upon the person himself, that though at first he did not 
believe it, yet afterwards he will not be able to dispossess 
himself of it. 

Company and Conversation. 

Whatever arguments there may be on one side of a ques- 
tion, if it is a man's luck to mix with company and con- 
versation which is for the most part on the other, it is great 
odds but he falls in with them. In our American disputes, 
there are surely arguments for the authority of Great Bri- 
tain, which might, at least, suspend a person's judgement ; 
yet in America itself, where all is said on one side, and no- 
thing on the other, they are in no suspense about it. Per- 
haps there is as little to be said for jacobitism as for any 
one thing in the world ; yet if a man be brought up in a 
jacobite neighbourhood, or associate much with Jacobite 
acquaintance, ten out of twenty will be drawn into their 
principles. Now, with regard to religion, in the high and gay 
scenes of life especially, a man may go through the world, 
and never hear religion mentioned in company or conversa- 


tion, but for the sake of a joke, or a gibe, or a scoft> or a 
sneer. It is rude and unfashionable to introduce religion, 
in order to defend, or even talk seriously about it ; whereas 
nothing goes down better than strokes of raillery or ridi- 
cule against it, which is unfair. Of the same cast is the 
cry against the clergy, their hypocrisy, their desire to lead 
mankind in a string ; their selfishness and slyness — charges 
which, whether just or unjust, have little to do with the 
truth of Christianity ; yet when a man has taken them into 
his head, or hears them bandied about in almost every 
company he comes into, the religion itself, which comes to 
him through their hands as it were, is instantly turned out 
of doors as a juggle, a state trick, a piece of priestcraft. 

The Tendency of particular Studies. 

1. When a man has been long accustomed to absolute 
certainty and demonstration, moral and probable proofs 
make less impression upon him. 

2. When a man has been long accustomed to rely upon 
one single argument for each proposition, he feels himself 
at a loss, and unsatisfied, for the want of such an argu- 
ment, and is not so sensible of the force of united proofs. 

However infidels may pretend to be freethinkers, there 
are no people under the sun greater slaves to the opinions 
of others : not one half, nor a third of them, disbelieve 
Christianity for any reason they can give themselves, but 
because some acquaintance of theirs, that they have an 
opinion of, or some noted fort d'esprit, Voltaire, or Hume, 
or Lord Bolingbroke, disbelieved it. 

Now, although it be the weakest and wildest way in the 
world to trust to other men's judgement in a matter, espe- 
cially where so many better reasons and solid proofs may 
be had on one side, and so many prejudices and obstacles 
subsist on the other ; yet to argue with unbelievers in their 
own way, we can confront them with names and authorities 
vastly superior to any they can produce. 


To say nothing of the bulk of the community, both high 
and low, rich and poor, learned and simple, which for 
so many ages, and in so many countries, have believed 
Christianity ; 

To say nothing of the many great divines in our own 
church, dissenting communions, and protestant churches 
abroad, who have spent whole lives in the study of Chris- 
tianity, and manifested as much acuteness and freedom in 
their researches as are to be found in any science whatever; 

Not to mention these, what shall we say to such people 
as Newton, Locke, and Addison, laymen, under no tempta- 
tion to dissemble, and who did not take their religion 
upon trust; but spent, each of them, many years in in- 
quiring into it, and rose up from the inquiry fully and 
firmly persuaded of its truth ? 

The Corruption of Christianity 
is the cause which has contributed, more than all the rest 
put together, to the making of infidels. 

1. The many absurdities which several national 
churches have taken into their system, and which have no 
place nor foundation in the Scriptures ; and the universal 
propensity in mankind to reject a whole system for the 
folly or falsehood of particular parts of it. This cause 
alone accounts for the many unbelievers to be found in 
popish countries. How should you get Voltaire or Rous- 
seau, or people of sense and spirit, to believe Christianity, 
whilst they regard transubstantiation, the infallibility of 
the Pope, or the power of absolving sins, as so many parts 
of it? 

2. Several lucrative tenets in some established systems, 
which induce the suspicion of craft and design in the whole ; 
such as purgatory, prayers for the dead, the efficacy of 
offerings and donations to the church. 

3. The placing Christianity upon wrong foundations. 
Thus Quakers and Methodists refer you for the proof of 
Christianity to the motion and witnessing of the Spirit in 
your own breast. Now a man who hears this, and can feel 


no such motions or witnessing, has nothing left for it hut 
to turn infidel. 

No sect of protestants is to be put upon a footing, as to 
the number or importance of their errors, with popery, 
which, first, denies to mankind the right of private judge- 
ment, thereby making religion no longer what it really is, 
a personal thing, but political ; secondly, all whose institu- 
tions tend to place religion in mechanical performances in- 
stead of substantial virtues. 

The contest with the presbyterians relates chiefly to 
church government, and the use of a liturgy. 

The dispute concerning church government, i. e. whether 
it should be with or without bishops ; formerly carried on 
with great heat, as each party would have it that his form 
was contained in Scripture; that therefore it was a matter 
of conscience and duty to stick to it. 

But now t I believe, both sides are convinced that neither 
Christ nor his apostles enjoined any particular form of 
church government, as of universal obligation ; but left 
each church in each country to regulate its government as 
it found expedient. 

This being allowed, it will follow, 

1. That that is the best form of church government 
which is most convenient, i. e. which conduces most to the 
edification of the people, which pleases them best, and 
suits with the circumstances and civil constitution of the 

Thus episcopacy agrees better with monarchies, as it 
keeps up that subordination in the ecclesiastical, which sub- 
sists in the civil part of the constitution ; and casts the 
clergy more into the hands of the prince, who, without 
some influence of that kind, would hardly be safe, or able 
to maintain his authority. On the other, presbytery, per- 
haps, is more eligible in a republic, as it favours and falls in 
with that spirit of equality and dislike of distinction, upon 
which spirit and dislike the very existence of a republic 


2. That a man may join with a church, though he be 
dissatisfied with and disapprove their form of government ; 
just as a man may live under a state, though its civil con- 
stitution he thinks might be altered greatly for the better. 

3. That, consequently, this alone is not a sufficient or 
justifiable cause of separation from any established church. 

The two leading tenets of Methodism, and the most 
serious points of difference betwixt us, are — 

I. That faith alone saves us. 

II. The perceptible operations of the Holy Spirit. 
The first is founded upon those passages of St. Paul, 

especially in the third chapter of the Romans, where he 
declares expressly, " that by the deeds of the law no flesh 
shall be justified," v. 20 ; and " that a man is justified by 
faith without the deeds of the law," v. 28. 

To which we give this answer, namely, that the justifica- 
tion here spoken of does not mean final salvation, but only 
what passed at their conversion; i.e. their deliverance 
from the desperate condition they were in before. 

When, instead of being destroyed for their sins, as the 
old world was, people upon their conversion to Christianity 
had their former sins all forgiven, were put upon easy and 
gracious terms for the future, and furnished with new 
means, lights, and assistances, for the government of their 
conduct, — this was such a favour, such a change for the 
better in their spiritual condition, that they might properly 
be said to be delivered or justified, in the same sense that 
Rahab was justified when she was saved from the destruc- 
tion of Jericho ; that Noah was justified when he was saved 
from the flood ; David when delivered from his enemies ; 
Phinehas when the priesthood was given him ; Abraham 
when his idolatry was pardoned, and he was taken into 
the covenant : and that, notwithstanding their being thus 
justified at their conversion, if they relapsed into, or con- 
tinued in sin (which St Paul supposes to be possible, by 
warning them against it), they would finally perish. 

VOL. I, E E 


To the proofs of this interpretation, which we gave in 
explaining the Epistle to the Romans, we add, 

1. That Christ himself always studiously insisted upon 
works accompanying their belief; and took, as it were, pains 
to have them understood, that hearing, believing, or call- 
ing upon him, would not do any good without keeping his 
commandments. Matt. vii. 21 — 29. John v. 29. 

2. That the apostles, in all their letters and speeches, 
(and no one more than St. Paul), exhort to virtue and 
sanctity of life. 

8. That St. James has expressly combated the notion 
that faith without works w r as sufficient. James ii. 14 — 26. 

4. That, above all, St. Paul himself tells the very people 
whom he had before pronounced "justified by faith," that 
" if they lived after the flesh, they should die." Rom. 
viii. 13. 

5. That all these strong expressions which have created 
the doubt, and this great stress w r hich is laid upon faith, 
would, probably, have never been heard of, had it not been 
for the dispute that arose with the Jews, and the engross- 
ing temper of that people, who would not suffer the Gen- 
tiles (unless they would first become Jews) to be admitted 
to an equality, or be set upon a footing with themselves. 
To beat down this it became necessary to contend that the 
being admitted to a share of favour at all, or to stand upon 
any particular footing as God's people, was not on account 
of any prior merit which the Jews would have laid hold of 
as peculiar to themselves, but simply and singly by faith, 
i. e. by believing and receiving the Christian religion. 

Thus much ought to be granted to the Methodists — 
that after all it is a dispute, perhaps, about words rather 
than things, certainly about an abstract doctrine, and not 
any practical question ; for they do not pretend that a man, 
who continues all his life a rogue, or a cheat, or a whore- 
master, or a drunkard, or in any habitual vice, will go to 
heaven at last by his faith : they either say it is not a true 
faith — that it is only in the mouth, not in the heart — that 


he does not really believe, or have constantly some way of 
getting off the conclusion. Vide Halifax's Three Sermons 
on Justification. 

II. As to the perceptible operations of the Holy Spirit, 
we agree with them in believing that the Spirit of God may 
and does act upon men's minds ; but we deny what they 
pretend, that these operations can be distinguished from 
the natural course of our own thoughts. A Methodist 
will have it that he can perceive the Spirit moving within 
him, know every impulse, be sure that such or such thoughts 
are not the workings of his own mind, but come from God 
— can tell, for instance, the time and place, the very hour 
and minute when he was illuminated, converted, born again, 
regenerated, elected, born of God, which is always with 
them instantaneous — is assured by the Spirit of his final 
salvation — knows when God accepts him, or hears his 
prayers — when he has communion or communication with 
God — when he struggles and wrestles with him. 

We, on the contrary, say, that we perceive no such 
thing ; that without some sure sign or token, either ex- 
ternal as a miracle, or internal as that which accompanied 
inspiration, and which we allow the prophets and apostles 
had, we neither can nor ought to pronounce with con- 
fidence what is the acting of the Holy Spirit, and what 
is not. 

That, at any rate, people telling us their feelings, their 
impulses, and communications, without giving us any proof 
besides their bare word, can be no ground of assurance to 
us, whatever evidence of it they may have themselves. 

That Christ did not call upon mankind to believe him, 
because he felt or thought himself inspired — because he 
was conscious of communication and intercourse with God, 
but for his " worWs sake? on account of the outward, 
visible, and public proofs he gave, the signs and wonders 
that he wrought before their eyes. Vide Rotherham on 

That it is enough, and all we have to do, to pray for the 


assistance of God's holy Spirit, to encourage and avail our- 
selves of good resolutions and desires when we feel them ; 
that we be extremely afraid and cautious of counteracting 
or putting them off, lest they should proceed, as they cer- 
tainly may do, and frequently in fact do, from God's 
Spirit ; and so we be found fighting against God, and 
quenching and stifling and grieving his holy Spirit. 


we find fault with principally for 

I. Laying aside the Sacrament; 

IT. Misunderstanding the agency of the Spirit ; 

III. Having no clergy, or order of men set apart for 
the service of religion. 

I. It is inconceivable how men, who believe the Scrip- 
tures, and profess obedience to Christ, should think the 
Sacrament may be dispensed with ; for, 

1. It appears that Christ instituted this rite, and com- 
manded it to be repeated. Luke xxii. 19. 

2. That the apostles and first Christians, in pursuance 
of this command, did repeat it ; which shows how they un- 
derstood it. Acts ii. 42 ; xx. 7. Still more expressly, 
ICor. It. 

3. Lest it should be thought to be a temporary institu- 
tion, intended only for the first ages of Christianity, St 
Paul adds, 1 Cor. 11 — 26, i. e. to the end of the world. 

This being so, it is no longer a matter of discretion but 
of duty, of propriety but of obligation, to observe it ; nor 
are we at liberty to lay it aside because we think we can do 
as well without it, or that it is of no use, or has been mis- 
understood or misapplied, or abused to foolish and super- 
stitious purposes, or has outlived the reason of the insti- 

II. Misunderstanding the agency of the Spirit. The 
Quakers contend, with the Methodists, for the perceptible 
operation of the Spirit, and therefore the same answer 
and observation will, in a good measure, serve for both. 


In two respects, however, they go beyond the Method- 
ists, as — 

1. That the proof and evidence of our religion consists 
in the witnessing of the Spirit within us, and that religious 
faith is produced, not as conviction in other matters, by 
argument, reason, or probability, but is shed through the 
heart by the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Which is contrary, as well to common sense and expe- 
rience, as to the whole tenor of Scripture, and the constant 
conduct of Christ and his apostles ; who did not rest the 
faith of their converts in any inward illumination, but ad- 
dressed themselves to the understanding, used arguments, 
produced proofs, appealed continually to the evidence of 
prophecy or miracles. John xiii. 37, 38. 

% That the Holy Ghost inspires their speakers in their 

Now though we allow that this might ofttimes have been 
the case in the apostolical ages, 1 Cor. xiv. 29 — 33, yet it 
was miraculous, and ceased with other miracles ; and at 
this day it gives occasion to great wildness and indecency, 
as it can no longer be distinguished whether it be the 
Spirit of God that moves them or the spirit of folly. 

III. Their having no clergy. 

To say nothing of the odds there are against a person 
who has never been used or prepared to speak in public 
acquitting himself with tolerable propriety ; 

To say nothing of the practice of every age and sect of 
Christianity besides the Quakers ; 

To lay these considerations out of the question, now 
that the Scriptures are written in a dead language, remote 
age, and distant country, it requires the aid of human 
learning to understand and explain them ; — the very evi- 
dence moreover of Christianity being historical, depending 
upon records and researches, it is absolutely necessary for 
the keeping up a knowledge of those Scriptures in the 
world, for collecting, preserving, and perpetuating the 
proofs of the religion, that a number of people should be 


set apart, with leisure and opportunity, for the purpose ; 
and whose only office and business it should be to cultivate 
those studies. 

The Quakers may do well enough where they are but 
a few, and while they subsist in countries where such an 
order is established, of whose labours they have in the 
main the benefit ; but it is a very different question what 
would have become of Christianity if no such order had 
ever been founded or continued in the church — possibly 
the very language in which the Scriptures are written 
might have been lost; the helps we have for interpreting 
them by contemporary authors, travels into the country, 
knowledge of customs, manners, &c. would have been 
wanting ; and above all the very evidence upon which it 
stands, for want of a succession of writers and people to 
consult and preserve these writings, might have decayed 
to nothing. 

The Quaker meetings and discipline may possibly 
enough resemble the meetings of the first Christians, 
where many were under the immediate and extraordinary 
guidance of the Holy Spirit, and yet be very unsuitable 
for these times, when that extraordinary inspiration- is 

As to their other fancies, their affectation of singularity 
in dress, speech, and behaviour, their allowing women to 
speak in their churches, in opposition to 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 
their not going into mourning for the dead, their refusing 
to pay tithes, take up arms, or take an oath, they have 
either been considered elsewhere, or do not deserve con- 

Only as to paying tithes, if they would consider it not 
as a divine right, which we no longer pretend to, but a 
civil institution, they would soon see that the law and par- 
liament had as good a right to lay on that tax as any other, 
and that there is the same reason for paying it. 



Read, by way of introduction, Collier's Sacred Inter- 
preter, especially the former part of the 2d vol. : Har- 
wood's Introduction, vol. i. : the Dissertations prefixed to- 
Macknight's Harmony : Goodwin's Jewish Antiquities, or 
rather, Jennings's Lectures upon it : and Law's Life of 

By way of commentators furnish yourself with Ham- 
mond, per Le Clerc : Lightfoot's work upon the respective 
Gospels, especially his Horse Hebraicse: Bowyer's Con- 
jectures on the New Testament: Jebb's, or any other Har- 
mony : the Wetstein edition of the New Testament, duo- 
decimo, 1711 : Parkhurst's Lexicon, or if Latin be familiar 
to you, Schoettgenii Lexicon, per Krebs: and Clarke's 

Your method of studying the Gospels for the first time 
of going over them may be this : read for instance a pass- 
age of St. Matthew in the English, with as little attention 
as may be to the divisions of chapter and verse, and break 
it with your pen as you go on into sections or paragraphs, 
where you observe transitions in the history or discourse. 
Next read over again one of these paragraphs, and mark 
the words, expressions, connexions, or reasonings that ap- 
pear to have any difficulty, and at the same time note 
down the best sense or explanation you can give them, 
however dubious or unsatisfactory ; when you have thus 
gone through the paragraph, then set about the clearing 
up these difficulties one by one in their order ; and first 
have recourse to the original Greek, with the assistance, 
if you want it, of Parkhurst's Lexicon, or Schoettgenius, 
which will ofttimes clear up the doubt without more to do: 
if not, consult the parallel passages in the other Gospels, 
which your Harmony points out ; if there be none, or they 
afford no light, turn to the texts which your Wetstein 
Greek Testament refers to ; if you are still at a loss for the 


interpretation, apply to Lightfoot's and Le Clerc's notes, 
Bowyer's Conjectures, and last of all Clarke's Paraphrase. 
In this train of inquiry when you are once satisfied stop, 
and by this means furnish an interleaved Greek Testament 
with notes. 

In the Acts of the Apostles, besides the before-men- 
tioned books (except the Harmony and Clarke's Para- 
phrase), read as you go along Benson's History of the 
Christian Religion. 

When you undertake the Epistles pursue the same me- 
thod with them, with the addition only of writing down 
the argument or subject of each section : read them in the 
following order, and let your commentators be — 

Upon James, Benson. — 1, 2 Timothy, Benson. — Titus, 
Benson. — Ephesians, Locke. — Colossians, Pierce. — Phi- 
lippians, Pierce. — Galatians, Locke. — Romans, Taylor. — 
1, 2 Corinthians, Locke. — 1, 2 Thessalonians, Benson. — 
Hebrews, Pierce. — The last three chapters, Hallet. — The 
rest of the general Epistles, Benson. 

If you should afterwards desire a more exact and critical 
knowledge of the New Testament, or of any particular 
passage, it is best attained by comparing the senses in 
which a dubious word or expression occurs in different 
places of Scripture ; for which purpose Schmidius , s Con- 
cordance for the New Testament, and Trommius's for the 
old Septuagint, are complete. The folio edition of Wet- 
stein supplies quotations from profane authors. The En- 
glish Concordance of Cruden is wanting for a thousand 

In examining any point of controversy (which by the by 
may be deferred till you have completed or made a con- 
siderable progress in the above prescribed course), I would 
advise before you take up a book on either side of the 
question to read the New Testament from beginning to 
endj with a view solely to that one subject; and collect all 
the texts as you go along, which appear to have any the 
most distant relation to it. Afterwards reduce the number 


of these texts by striking out such as are found, upon a 
second examination, to have no real connexion with the 
subject, and then carefully peruse the remainder with the 
notes, comments, and assistances I suppose you now pos- 
sessed of. Thus you will be enabled either to form a judg- 
ment of the question from what you have before you, or 
at least to read the books that are written upon it with 
edification and pleasure. 

As to preaching, if your situation requires a sermon 
every Sunday, make one and steal five ; for which latter 
purpose I recommend Conant's Sermons, which are easily 
abridged by selecting the most important out of the many 
heads into which he divides them ; — the few of Scougal's 
bound up with his " Life of God in the Soul of Man ;" 
Ostervald on the Causes of the Corruptions of Christians : 
which you may readily break into discourses for the pulpit. 
Accustom yourself to insert additions and alterations of 
your own, and make it a point of conscience to reject what 
you disbelieve or disapprove. 

In order to compose sermons, furnish yourself in the first 
place with Limborch de lteligione Christiana; get also 
Enfield's Preacher's Directory, which I would wish you to 
interleave, and make from time to time additions to it of 
your own ; and unless you are possessed of copious notes 
of our lectures, have by you Rutherforth's Institutes of 
Natural Law. 

The first rule I give you in the composition of sermons 
is, " to confine your discourse to one single specific subject," 
a vice, for instance, or error which actually prevails ; an 
excuse or evasion which is in fact made use of; or a duty 
which you observe to be unnoticed, mistaken, or trans- 
gressed. When your own thoughts and observation fail 
to furnish you with such subjects, then but not till then 
have recourse for them to Enfield's Directory, or the 
scheme of the work, p. 1—8, or to the index at the begin- 
ning of Limborch. 

In treating such a subject, first or early in your discourse 
state distinctly and clearly the point or proposition you 


mean to discuss, and then describe with all the particularity 
and minuteness which decency admits of what you observe 
or suppose to be the thoughts and conduct of mankind, 
especially of those you have to deal with in respect of it. 
If you hit upon a train of thought which has actually 
passed in the minds of your audience, or a description 
which exactly reaches their case, you will probably be of 
service. Next set forth in order, and with the good old 
fashion of firstly, secondly, &c. what may be said upon the 
subject from the law and light of nature. This you must 
draw principally out of your own head ; but you will fre- 
quently receive the most excellent hints from Limborch, 
and may ofttimes find a full and just account of the matter 
in Rutherforth. In the last place, produce and explain 
the several texts and declarations of Scripture, always re- 
serving the strongest for the last. Enfield generally will 
supply the texts, but Limborch always, together with some 
useful observations upon them ; and when your Greek 
Testament is stocked with notes, the interpretation is at 

When these sort of subjects are exhausted, another 
species of preaching is, to give abstracts of select portions 
of sacred history in a familiar narrative, interspersed with 
a few reflections. For a collection of such subjects, see En- 
field, p. 6 ; and for suitable observations upon them, the 
1st vol. of Collier. 

Likewise paraphrases on particular portions of the New 
Testament, a parable for instance, a single head of Christ's 
sermon on the Mount, the history of some noted miracle, 
a speech in the Acts, or a detached section of an epistle : 
only take care not to improve too much upon the text, that 
is, do not in order to make your discourse, as you may 
think, more useful, put meanings into it, or make appli- 
cations of it, which were never intended. In this way 
Doddridge's Family Expositor is very valuable. 

The attributes of God, as discovered in the works of the 
creation, and described in Scripture, such as his power, 
wisdom, goodness, compassion, placability, omnipresence, 


particular providence, &c. are excellent and easy topics. 
The descriptions of the attributes in the 5th vol. of Search's 
Light of Nature are inimitable, and the texts relating to 
them are well connected in Enfield. 

The evidences of Christianity, particularly those which 
arise from the morality of the Gospel, the seeming or mi- 
nute differences, but real and substantial agreements of 
the several historians, the candour and simplicity of their 
narratives, the inimitable zeal, affection, and earnestness, 
and therefore the authenticity of St. Paul's letters, the 
sufferings, disinterestedness, and low stations of the apostles 
and first teachers of Christianity, the success of their mi- 
nistry, and good effects it produced ; the originality of 
Christ's character and pretensions, the value, end, and im- 
portance of his mission, the explicit prophecies fulfilled in 
him, his own predictions of the persecutions of his fol- 
lowers, and the destruction of Jerusalem, may all be moulded 
into useful and popular sermons. 

For your manner of writing. sermons take the following 

Let your text relate to your subject without doing vio- 
lence to the words, and choose one if you can which re- 
quires and admits an explanation ; in which case (and not 
as a general rule whether it wants it or no) begin your 
sermon with an exposition of the text: and if you make use 
of the context or connexion of the words, repeat entire the 
whole passage to which they belong, otherwise you will 
not be understood. 

When you produce a text of Scripture to prove any 
thing, repeat the chapter and verse, if it be only by way of 
accommodation ; that is, to express your own meaning : in 
Scripture words you need not. 

The best way of writing upon any subject is to put down, 
or settle at least, your own thoughts first, and consult books 
upon it afterwards. 

In every discourse let your first care be truth and in- 
formation, your last ornament and exactness of language. 


The good old way of expounding the Scriptures in the 
place of a sermon, or on that part of the day when you 
have no sermon, especially if you can persuade your con- 
gregation to follow you with their Bibles in their hands, is 
the very best service you can do them, because it will be 
a means of making them read the Scriptures to themselves 
and in their families. — Vide Abp. Hort's Charge. 

If you have dissenters in your parish, make it your busi- 
ness by your behaviour, conversation, and preaching, to 
possess both them and your own congregation with a sense 
of the unimportance of those points which divide you, of 
the conveniency and consequently the duty of giving up 
such points to one another for the sake of one common 
public worship. Above all things abstain from ridicule or 
reflections upon their persons and teachers, from reproach- 
ing them with the conduct of their ancestors, or prede- 
cessors of the same sect, from idle reports of their ab- 
surdities or immoralities, from groundless suspicions of 
their sincerity, and particularly from charging them with 
opinions which they disown, or consequences they do not 

When you are called upon to visit the sick, collect as 
many of the family or others into the sick person's room 
as is convenient, and make what you say a vehicle of ad- 
monition to them. 

Distribute books in your parish, especially the tracts of 
the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, 
or such as you may select from their catalogue. It is one 
of the best modes of instruction, and in every one's power. 







PS ft.